The Hood River Yacht Club’s high school sailing coaches paid honors to the 13 graduating seniors from both Hood River Valley High School and Columbia High School. Coach Lars Bergstrom said the team had a reduced schedule but they did compete at the Island Cup Regatta in Oak Harbor.
“It was seven competitions fewer than normal and no chance to earn back their State Championship,” Bergstrom said.
He posted these comments on the students sailors:
Cael Price — Hood River Valley High School: "Cael sailed here in the Gorge as a kid and then moved away for a while. Cael had just moved back and was coming on strong. Cael is a cheerful and helpful sailor who is going to do well at whatever he decides to do. The coaches are all hoping that Cael continues his sailing in college."
Dylan Trainer — Hood River Valley High School: "Dylan joined the high school sailing team last year. He started as crew and once he knew how things worked, he was keen to drive. Everything came back to him quickly as we started the season this year and Dylan now has the skills to sail any boat confidently. The coaches are sure that he will enjoy these skills as he moves into the world."
Ellen Sova — Hood River Valley High School: "Ellen started sailing with the high school sailing team last year and got a taste for how fun the sport can be. The coaches could tell she really wanted to improve this year. Never afraid, she was working hard to make that happen. That ability and desire will take Ellen a long way."
Eva Jones — Hood River Valley High School: "Normally with seniors, your coaches say something like, 'OK, it’s time to spread your wings and go out into the world.' Eva’s wings have been spread for some time now. The next step is to learn how to soar and just enjoy the flight."
Gavin Ullrich — Hood River Valley High School: "Gavin sailed as a kid and was excited to be coming back to the sport. Gavin really wanted to do well this year and was looking forward to racing. He was improving every day he got on the water. It be really fun to see what Gavin does with sailing in the future."
Grace Skakel — Hood River Valley High School: "Grace is a real sailing competitor. Smart, confident, and competitive, all the traits that make Grace special also make her a great one to have on a sailing team. This was shaping up to be a fantastic year for her. The coaches really hope that Grace continues to sail."
Kevin Johnston — Hood River Valley High School: "This was the fourth year that Kevin sailed for the team. Kevin is a talented waterman and his skills on the race course just added to this fact. Kevin was last year’s team captain and one of this year’s race captains. Kevin is always quick to help out his team and his coaches and is going to do great in college."
Payton Bunch — Hood River Valley High School: "Having many friends on the team, Payton decided she was going to give the sailing team a try this year. After the first day of practice, the coaches knew she was going to be a wonderful addition to the team. After the first windy day of practice the coaches knew she was going excel. And after the second windy practice, Payton asked if she could drive! The coaches will miss sailing with Payton and her great smile."
Romain Levassor — Columbia High School: "Every time we get the chance to have a French exchange student sail with us we are excited. Romain did not disappoint. Now we will have to sail with him in an other place on another boat. Gorge Sailing Team wishes you the best, Romain!"
Saylor Sundby — Hood River Valley High School: "Saylor is such a hard worker. Without anyone else knowing, Saylor kept the team out on the water each day by showing up on the off days to work on boats, sails, and the dock. Saylor’s coaches have really enjoyed having him on the team, both as a sailor and a leader."
Sofia Newton — Columbia High School: "Sofia joined the team as a senior this year and was so fun to be around. She was excited and hard working at practice, was kind to everyone around her, and really seemed to enjoy sailing. The coaches look forward to seeing you out on the water in the future, Sofia!"
Lily Simpson — Hood River Valley High School: "Lily is the team’s most adventurous senior. Lily took the winter off to go work on a sailboat in the Caribbean and is hoping to go to school at University of Hawaii in the fall. It has been really fun to watch her progression. She is a brave skipper in our high winds and a natural leader. Keep your eyes up for Lily in the near future both on land and on the water."
Stella Waag — Hood River Valley High School: "Stella is another of our amazing sailors on Gorge Sailing Team. Stella is a super hard worker and enjoys doing so many different things. Stella is heading for a challenging college career but her coaches know that she is ready for anything they can throw at her."