The 2010-2011 season for the USF co-ed sailing team has been “average” in the words of head coach Gonzalo Crivello. But the team has made strides this spring, including a signature win just weeks ago on the West Coast.
On the first weekend in April, the team won the St. Francis Intersectional in San Francisco. The Bulls beat out 31 other teams, including a hard-charging Cal Maritime squad that finished second and a talented Stanford team, which finished ninth and played host to the event.
According to team captain Zack Marks, the competition—or “regatta” in sailing terms—wasn’t as competitive as others due to a lack of ranked teams. But it was still satisfying for him because they beat Stanford—one of the top teams in the nation.
Crivello, who is in his fourth season as coach of the co-ed squad, chose not to attribute the team’s recent success to specific sailors but instead credited the work of everyone.
“The team as a whole is working hard at our goals,” he said. “It’s not always one person. It’s more of the team.”
He also spoke highly of Marks, who he said is a good student in addition to his sailing abilities, and women’s team captain Rachel Silverstein.
“We have good leadership and great motivation in both of them,” he said.
The sailing team is a member of the South Atlantic Interscholastic Association. As of mid-April, it was ranked just outside the top 20 out of more than 200 teams. In addition to its San Francisco victory, the team has also been successful this year in smaller South Point regattas in Gainesville and Miami. Its best national ranking came two years ago when the team was No. 8 overall and won a sloops national championship.
Crivello noted that the team has been ranked in about the same spot over the last few years.
“It’s good because we’re not going backwards,” he said. “But we’re kind of stuck in that position right now.”
Marks, the team captain, is a 22-year-old senior majoring in economics and finance. He already has an extensive sailing resume, having competed in events in Australia, Germany and France. In addition, he participated in the 2007 U.S. Olympic Trials. His leadership methods are demonstrated more through his actions than anything else.
“I try to lead by example,” he said. “I have to keep our team focused on our goals.”
He described the season as “mixed” and said the team had a tough stretch in the fall but has improved in the spring.
Marks said he most enjoys being around his teammates and the team atmosphere of the sport.
“The social aspect is pretty cool because everyone has to come together to make our goals happen,” he said.
The team recently competed in a national qualifier event and will take part in a second qualifier from April 30 to May 1. Crivello knows what’s at stake.
“We have one goal,” he said. “And it’s to qualify for nationals.”