South sailing team wins third state title in a row


Photo courtesy of James Cooper

Johnny Walton ’18 and his crew Drew Clutterbuck ’19 round the windward mark in first place. Walton won his division at the regatta.

Bianca Pugliesi, Supervising Copy Editor

This past month, South’s sailing team came out with a victory at states, winning their fourth state title in the past five years.


“Being a senior and a captain, I felt that I had to win states this year to set the team up for success for years to come,” Blake Stackpoole ’18 said.“This is my fourth state title, but I feel as this is the most important as we have worked all four years for this.”


The team started off in second place, but with hard work, they were able to create a lead by winning consecutive races, according to sailor Christiana Scheibner ’19.


“It wasn’t easy, but the determination paid off,” Scheibner said.


The team was panicking the longer they stayed in second, Stackpoole said.


“Johnny Walton, Taft Peck (both ’18), Drew Clutterbuck ’19, Dominic Dulac ’20 and I had to show poise and we had to capitalize on Grosse Ile’s mistakes in order to move into first,” Stackpoole said. “After this, we had to close out the regatta by protecting our lead, which again showed our strength as a team and something Coach Cooper has taught us to do.”


Coach James Cooper said that his team is able to constantly adapt to the weather and specific competition.


“These kids are experts at their craft,” Cooper said. “Johnny Walton and Blake Stackpoole lead this team through dialogue, example and patience. We often speak in terms that ‘there are no rear view mirrors on our sailboats.’ We constantly are moving forward and not dwelling on past mistakes or losses.”

Scheibner is proud of her team and the fact that they were able to stay in the moment.


“No one was distracted and we all supported each other while the other teams were lacking in focus and fooling around,” Scheibner said.


With the upcoming spring season, the team hopes to improve their level of competition.


“Grosse Pointe South sailing is a midwest powerhouse and we hope to compete on the national scale as last season. Last year we made it to nationals, but this year we plan to challenge at nationals,” Stackpoole said.


According to Cooper, the team is twelfth in the nation.


“We would like to break into the top 10,” Cooper said.


Parent, school and community support and the commitment of the sailors and coaches is what makes South’s team different from the other teams in the state, Cooper said.


“Our practice competition is at a higher level than most matches or regattas. It is that daily competition that makes us better sailors and stronger individuals,” Cooper said. “‘Calm waters do not make the sailor.’ We all understand that we are in constant growth mode.”