by Dana Paxton
Pan American Games - Following another strong showing Saturday, Team USA enters Sunday’s medal races in podium position in six of the nine classes being contested in the regatta at the Vallarta Yacht Club.
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With 10 races in the books, the U.S. leads the J/24 and Snipe classes, stands second in the Laser Radial, Lightning and Sunfish classes and ranks third in the women’s Windsurfing class.
Tomorrow, each class will race just once with double points on the line to decide the medalists.
Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) placed third and first today to move into a tie for second in the Laser Radial class. The victory was her fourth in the last five races and her fifth in the 10-race series. Railey will have to finish ahead of Tania Elias Calles of Mexico, who stands third, to lock up silver tomorrow.
'I started off with some setbacks but I just didn’t let them get to me. Instead, I looked at the positives and took everything that I was learning and kept applying it every day,' Railey said. 'I could just see the improvement in my results and consistency throughout the course.'
Skippered by Jody Lutz (Brick, N.J.), the U.S. Lightning team finished second and third to assure itself of a podium finish. The Lightning has 22 net points to sit second and can earn gold tomorrow if it bests the Chilean boat, which leads the regatta with 20 net points.
'I would have liked to have put some points on them, but they’re so good that I feel like we’re within striking distance. We’re going to let it all hang out tomorrow,' Lutz said. 'It’s the first time in the Pan Am Games for us, and we have a chance to gold medal tomorrow. I guess I couldn’t ask for more than that.'
The J/24 team of skipper John Mollicone (Newport, R.I.) notched a pair of second place finishes to stand first with 17 net points and a three-point lead over Brazil. Geoffrey Becker (Arnold, Md.), Daniel Rabin (Charlestown, Mass.) and Paul Abdullah (Jacksonville, Fla.) round out the J/24 crew.
The Snipe team of Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Kathleen Tocke (Miami, Fla.) went fifth and fourth today and holds the overall lead with 26 points, three clear of the field.
Four-time Olympian Paul Foerster (Heath, Texas) in the Sunfish rallied from an 11th place finish in his first race to take the runner-up spot in the second. He is second entering the medal races.
Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) is third in the women’s Windsurf class following a fourth and a second place finish today.