Globe North Sports Notebook

Bresnahan sails to coaching honor

By John Vellante
May 29, 2011

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Jeff Bresnahan, his brother, and two sisters were introduced to sailing in the summer of 1977, in the junior program at Community Boating Inc., on the Charles River in Boston. The cost: $1 per lesson.

All four of the Malden youngsters — with Jeff joined by siblings Phil, Debbie, and Johanna — were naturals on the water. Eventually, they taught at and then directed the very program that put them at the rudder.

Jeff, the youngest, went on to Malden Catholic High and then Southern Connecticut University.

But after one year, he dropped out to “just sail.’’ He tried out for the US Olympic team in 1988, but wasn’t selected. He made another bid in 1992, again wasn’t selected, but instead went to Barcelona as a training partner for Star Class Olympians Mark Reynolds and Hal Henel.

They won the gold and, Bresnahan now concedes, “that’s the closest I’ll ever get to the medal stand.’’

After Barcelona, Bresnahan accepted the position as sailing coach at Connecticut College. He has been there ever since. This week and last, his women’s and coed teams have been in Cascade Locks, Ore., competing in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association National Championships for the first time since 1993. Just before heading West, Bresnahan was named Coach of the Year by the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association.

In between coaching duties, Bresnahan attended the University of Connecticut, earned his degree in 2001, and just recently received his master’s degree in sports management from the University of Pennsylvania.

“I’m deeply honored to have been chosen,’’ Bresnahan said of the New England association’s honor, “but the credit really belongs to the members of the team. They worked extremely hard and got us to the nationals. My job was easy. They did the sailing and it’s through their efforts that I got this award.’’

One of Bresnahan’s sailors is junior captain Elizabeth Wilsterman of Winchester, who learned to sail at Stage Harbor Yacht Club in Chatham.

She is also a product of the junior program at Community Boating. She sails in the FJ Class, and crews for Kevin Martland of Newport, R.I., on the college’s coed team and for Atlantic Brugman of Barcelona on the women’s team. As the crew on the two-person boat, it is her responsibility to assist the skipper, trim the jib, and provide details on the tactical positions of the other boats in the field.

Wilsterman “has done a great job leading this team, and I think we are very prepared for the competition,’’ said Bresnahan.

“Boston College will be there and early on in the season they beat us by 20 points. In the New Englands, we turned things around a bit. BC won, but the margin this time was just two points. We obviously made some corrections and right now are sailing very well.’’

Wilsterman echoes Bresnahan’s sentiments.

“We are very prepared and definitely think we can get BC out on the water and give them a battle. The New England rankings had BC second and us third, so I think things will be tight. I think what we did in the New Englands proved we could race with BC.’’

Campus corner Columbia senior outfielder Jason Banos of Lynnfield has been named All-Ivy for the third time. Overall, Banos batted .323 with six home runs, 30 RBIs and nine doubles. He hit .364 in Ivy League play. Defensively, he handled 74 chances flawlessly.

The US Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association has selected University of Massachusetts Lowell sophomore Evan White of Tewksbury as its Division 2 East Region Athlete of the Year. Two weeks ago, White won the 200- and 400-meter races and ran the anchor leg on her team’s winning 4x400 relay unit in the New England outdoor championships.

Tough season-ending losses for the Merrimack softball and UMass Lowell baseball teams. Merrimack lost in the NCAA East Region final, 1-0, to C.W. Post, coming up just short in its bid to advance to the Division 2 World Series. Kara Melillo of North Andover had Merrimack’s only hit of the game. The Warriors finished the season 31-23. UMass, meanwhile, was eliminated in the second round of the East Regional, 3-0, by Franklin Pierce, to wrap up the season at 37-14. Taylor Robinson of Haverhill pitched eight-plus innings for the River Hawks, scattering seven hits, striking out four, and walking three

Mackenzie Schleicher of Londonderry, N.H., Katie Herter of Topsfield, Libby Spalding of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Emily French of Wenham, and Olivia King of Georgetown were members of the Bowdoin lacrosse team that lost to Gettysburg, 16-5, in the NCAA Division 3 championship game.

Around and about The third annual Krit Classic 5K run/walk, which begins and ends at Andover High, is next Sunday at 9 a.m. The race is in memory of Kristin Lee Kearins, who captained the Andover gymnastics and swim teams her senior year in 2000 and who died in a bicycle accident in 2008. She was an emergency room nursing assistant at Children’s Hospital Boston at the time of her death. Proceeds benefit the Krit Kearins Memorial Scholarship, which is given annually to a graduating Andover student-athlete. Online registration is at . . Ipswich native Nick Snow is a member of the Team USA squad that earned a ticket to the Federation of International Polo world championships by beating Canada and Guatemala in Zone A competition in the Dominican Republic. The FIP championships are this fall in Argentina. . . Three local high school basketball coaching positions have been filled. Former Swampscott star Katelyn Leonard is the new girls’ coach at Revere High, moving over from Mystic Valley Regional Charter School. Adam DeBaggis has been promoted from assistant to head girls’ coach at Bishop Fenwick, where he is also the varsity volleyball coach. And Jim McCune, formerly at St. Clement and Wilmington high schools, takes over at Malden Catholic. . . The Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England kicks off its inaugural season June 9 when the Seacoast Mavericks host the Torrington Titans at Bert George Field in Rochester, N.H. Joining them in the league, which is led by commissioner Chris Hall of Chelmsford, are the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks and the Nashua Silver Knights. For details, visit

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