Cruising to victory

Jones girls sailing members’ bond helps them reach the top


READY: All smiles for the Girls Sailing team on the morning before a regatta in San Diego.

The Jones girls sailing team placed first in Midwest regionals on Sept. 24-25, and placed 19th of 28 at the Pacific Coast Interscholastic Sailing Association (PCISA) Girls Invitational on Oct. 15.

The team won their championship and qualified for nationals, with both the team’s A and B divisions competing well.

“We placed first out of all the Midwest girls teams,” said Betsy Finley ‘23. “ The top four teams were the ones that qualified, but we won our region.”

The divisions split teams competing into two groups, with members competing against members from other teams that are part of the same division.

“Our B team, which in this case was Grace, Betsy and Orla, switched off,” said Nissa Berman ‘26. “In A division we got fourth, and then in B, Grace won.”

Members of the team are split between the two divisions, and both of their scores are combined as the team’s total score in the regatta.

“[The] A Division [is] harder,” said Georgia Beal ‘24. “You have two people in A division, two people in B division, then you rotate out every two races.”

The girls took the victory in the region, ousting their next closest competitor University of Chicago Lab by a substantial margin.

“[U Chicago Lab] got 94 points and we had 79,” said Berman. 

The team had a positive outlook on the results of the competition and effort that each of the members put forth. 

“I was so proud to see all these girls come together,” said Finley. “There was much team unity and team bonding.”

Members coming together create a recipe for team success.

“I think everyone sailed well,” said Berman. “Great teamwork and cooperation, which makes a big difference for sailing.

This uplifting communal attitude seemed to carry over to nationals a few weeks later. 

“We didn’t have to place top three,” said Finley. “It was so fun just being with the team and having the experience within itself.”

Despite the team not having the same success they did at regionals, members enjoyed the experience.

“We didn’t do super well and we didn’t place super well,” said Beal. “But we tried really hard and it was fun.”

The team still competed well enough to earn a solid placement in the national tournament.

“We got 19th out of 28 teams in the country, which is a really big deal,” said Finley. 

Along with strong ties while in their boats, the team appreciates the connections they’ve built from travel to and from various regattas.

“When we go to those kinds of regattas, we all travel as a team, stay in hotels together, eat our meals together,” said Berman. “Our whole team is very close; lots of great friendships started from sailing.”

With their trip to San Diego for nationals, the girls appreciated the opportunity to visit another city along with taking part in the tournament.

“We got to explore another city with this group of girls,” said Finley. “Being together in San Diego was such an experience in itself.”

The team hopes to continue strengthening their bonds as they participate in more tournaments and regattas.

“I think that in future years we’ll do better,” said Berman. “But for our first time [at nationals] and for barely sailing together, it went well.”

As a member of the team for her whole high school career, Finley has already seen growth of the team and their experiences.

“You wouldn’t have thought the Jones team was going to go to nationals,” said Finley. “It’s just really awesome to see how far the team has grown…it’s a really cool thing.”