Feature Stories

Minnetonka High School Sailing Team Graduating Seniors
Minnetonka High School Sailing Team Graduating Seniors

As we bid farewell to the class of 2019, we reflect on some of the great memories these students have had together and the notable achievements they have accomplished. One group of graduating Minnetonka seniors holds something very unique in common.

Many of the seniors on the MHS Sailing Team have been sailing together since before the age of 10 and have plans to go on to sail in college. This year's team had the largest group of sailors from one class in the last decade that will continue to pursue their passion for sailing in college, with seven sailors doing so.

This group of graduating seniors has achieved much success on and off the water. The group of student-athletes includes a National Merit Commended Scholar, AP scholars, IB Diploma candidates and multi-year academic letter recipients. Two sailors have even earned the rank of Eagle Scout. In competitions, the team has seen multiple visits to national championships and has repeatedly placed first among 60+ teams in the Midwest.

"It's been a phenomenal run for our student-athletes," said MHS Sailing Team Head Coach Jessica Haverstock, "we are proud of their dedication, teamwork and accomplishments both on and off the water." Haverstock has been coaching with the MHS Sailing Team and the Lake Minnetonka Sailing School (LMSS) for over 7 years now, and knows that this group of seniors is a special one. "Our graduating seniors are experienced leaders and mentors who provide excellent mentorship for younger team members," said Coach Haverstock. "They are encouraging, patient and willing to share their knowledge for the better of the team. In fact, they'd tell you they experienced the same when they were underclassmen."

One graduating senior, Susie Foster, has been sailing with LMSS for 12 years. "Sailing brings people very close," said Susie, "I will probably miss the people the most, since I might not see them again." Susie started her competitive racing career as a freshman with the MHS team, but began sailing at the age of six. In the fall, Susie will attend Cornell University where she hopes to race for the club sailing team there.

Madison LaRoche is another graduating Minnetonka senior who has been on the team for three years. "I moved to MHS when I was a sophomore and began sailing the fall of my sophomore year," said Madison. "I have loved being a part of the team and feel that it has had a positive impact on my high school experience." Madison also works at LMSS during the summer when she isn't sailing competitively. "I love how passionate everyone is about sailing there and how there is always something new to learn," she said. Madison plans to attend Virginia Tech in the fall.

Reflecting on the accomplishments of this group of graduating seniors, Coach Haverstock notes that "There's no doubt relationships and communication add to the success of such a high-performing team." And though the sailors will part ways, sailing will always be a part of their lives. "Sailing is a lifetime sport," said Coach Haverstock.

As for the future of the team, Coach Haverstock holds high hopes. "We have up and coming athletes who will continue to represent us well at local and regional events," she said. Next season's team also shares the unique characteristic that many have been sailing together since they were little. Coach Haverstock is excited to continue the tradition the MHS Sailing Team and LMSS have of producing excellent high school and collegiate sailors. "We continuously develop young talent as we go forward," she said, "and we look forward to watching them progress to their full potential!"

sailing team

List of graduating seniors:

  • Lexie Baker
  • Michael Dowson
  • Susie Foster*
  • Annika Irene*
  • Matthew Kickhafer*
  • Madison LaRoche
  • Garret Moen*
  • Graham Ness*
  • Nate Olmsted*
  • Sophie Rey
  • Connor Wacker
  • Henry Westlind*
  • Rita Usmanova
*Seniors who plan to continue with collegiate sailing

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