Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
When the Harvard Varsity Club notified me of this honor to be included in the Hall of Fame, it brought back a flood of memories. In some ways Harvard and college sailing feel like a lifetime ago, while in other ways it feels like yesterday. But more than anything, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude-- for having had the opportunity to go to Harvard, compete at such a high level in sailing, and meet so many amazing people. I did not have the perspective at the time to realize how special this all was, but fifteen years later I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunities and experiences Harvard and Harvard sailing afforded me.
It is hard to know where to begin, as there were so many people that made our successes possible. I was fortunate to join a team that was quickly gaining momentum. Under the leadership of our two young coaches, Mike and Bern, and upperclassmen like Pete, Foxy, Cori and Christian, the team was transitioning from a strong regional player to one that could truly compete at the national level. Sean and I were the two “recruits” our year, and the tone was set from the day we walked in the door-- this team could be a national force if we worked hard enough. It was exciting, and as I reflect on the experience I would like to mention several key people for whom I am most thankful:
First, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to sail with two amazing crews. When you are in a 14-foot boat with one other person for 30+ hours a week for eight months of the year, this partnership really matters. I will start with Lauren, since we sailed together my freshman year, her junior year. It was clear that crewing for some new freshman was the last thing she wanted to do - especially considering we nearly washed up on Storrow Drive in one of our first practices together-- never mind it was basically a hurricane and we weighed a measly 265 pounds! I won her over somehow (whether it was the constant supply of Pull ‘N’ Peel or our joint amusement at talking in Minnesotan accents), and we went on to have a successful year together, with us both earning All-America honors. Lauren quickly became one of my best friends and I have looked to her over the years for guidance in so many things-- from navigating college to careers to families. Thank you, Lauren.
At the beginning of sophomore year I was profoundly fortunate to “steal” Susan from Sean as my crew. (I will note that since they dated through college and ultimately got married, I am somewhat of a professional third wheel). But with the utmost sincerity, I was so lucky to sail with Susan. Not only was she a phenomenal and hard-working athlete who learned the sport at an astonishing clip, but she was also a gifted teammate. I still recall how she knew how to keep me entertained and loose in the most intense situations; if the coaches had a tape recorder of what we talked about on a daily basis I am sure we would be benched for lack of focus. In addition to being a perfect match for me personally, she was also a great leader on our team who could connect with everyone. I love our friendship and it is such a great privilege to share this recognition with her. Thank you and congratulations, Susan.
Second, I would like to thank our coaches, Mike and Bern. They brought an intensity to the program that was unmatched in college sailing, and we owe so much of these successes to them. While I forget the details of some of our more insane practices, I will always remember the sense that we could accomplish great things if we worked hard enough. I have carried these lessons forward in all facets of my life: Do whatever it takes to prepare (practice in the hurricane or blizzard); Focus on the details (except for which type of gasoline goes in the van…); Don’t forget the bigger picture (what’s the combo, what’s the play?) and you will be rewarded. Thank you, Mike and Bern, for believing in me and giving me the tools and opportunity to compete at the highest levels of college sailing.
In addition to my crews and coaches, we had a rockstar team - Pete, Christian, Jason, Sean, Clay, Dan, Cardwell, to name a few. We all pushed each other; our practices were harder than most inter-sectional regattas. This intensity and competitiveness was exhilarating (if not a bit exhausting!), and our team could not help but get better. I would like to thank Sean in particular for his dedication and focus. He was a great teammate who pushed me to be better, and always took the time to help me and others. Lastly, we also had a great roster of “heavies” (Dan, Gabe, Jason), a dedicated pit crew, and supportive parents and alumni who helped make everything possible.
I am also grateful that Harvard afforded me so many wonderful friends and experiences beyond the sphere of sailing. This is where I met my husband, Justin-- a swimmer and pitcher on the baseball team. (I thank The Crimson for publishing an article about me that first caught his eye and spurred our first awkward conversation). Fortuitously, Justin and I both matched to Mather House, where we enjoyed the best crew of friends possible, almost all of whom were athletes as well. Mather 406, you are a special group and I cannot imagine navigating college with anyone else.
Finally and most importantly, I would like to thank my mom, dad, and sister. My parents devoted so much time and energy to supporting my sister and I through school and our various sports. These commitments were all-consuming at times, but my parents taught us to believe we could achieve anything-- including attending top tier schools, competing on the national level (as well as against boys), and pursuing our dreams and ambitions. For me, sailing was a natural love and when I first started racing, my parents encouraged and supported me to take it as far as I wanted it to go. I began sailing and competing locally on Cape Cod, then on the national circuit, and ultimately around the world in such incredible locations as South Africa, Japan, Holland, and Slovenia. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dream-- and the support when I decided I had finally had enough. These are special memories and I am forever grateful. Thank you also to my sister, Elisabeth, who blazed a formidable path that I was fortunate to follow. Whether it was in sailing or in life, she has always taken the time to teach, share, guide and listen. I am so thankful for my family; none of this would have been possible without you three.
I am honored and humbled to become a part of this special group. Thank you!