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Young Athletes Shine at Youth Worlds: Four Gold Medals for USA

by US Sailing 19 Jul 2019 15:53 PDT 13-20 July 2019
2019 Youth Sailing World Champions - 29er Girls: Berta Puig (left) and Bella Casaretto (right) © jacek kwiatkowski / World Sailing

Upon conclusion of the final races at the 2019 Hempel Youth Sailing World Championships, four U.S. athletes have earned the title of Youth World Champions. Maddie Hawkins (Edgewater, Md.) and Yumi Yoshiyasu (Houston, Texas) claimed gold medals in the Girls International 420 fleet, while Berta Puig (Miami, Fla.) and Bella Casaretto (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) were victorious in the Girls 29er fleet.

Hawkins and Yoshiyasu all but sealed their victory before the last day of racing even began. Heading into the final race, the pair carried a 22-point lead on the rest of the fleet, which secured their position in first. With 16-points separating Puig and Casaretto from the second-place boat, the 29er Champions also began the final races with a comfortable lead.

Yoshiyasu expressed that winning the gold medal was a somewhat unexpected, albeit exciting, experience, "It was really overwhelming because we've never won an i420 regatta and winning the biggest event of the year was extremely exciting."

Youth Sailing World Championship veterans Puig and Casaretto have been sailing together from a young age. The pair finished in the silver medal position at the 2018 event and are pleased to head home from this year's event with their gold medals in tow, "It feels like a hard work paid off and we achieved what we came here to do," said Casaretto.

"There was definitely a lot of hard work that has been put into the 29er and having it all pay off to win the gold medal at the World Championship was an incredible experience," Puig agreed. "But I think what was even better was that we had a lot of fun while we trained really hard. It was an awesome journey to be on with Bella."

In addition to the girls' gold medal performances, the U.S. had strong results across several fleets. Six of the nine U.S. boats concluded the regatta in the top-ten. Boys Laser Radial sailor, Connor Nelson (Tampa, Fla.), finished just outside the podium, in fourth place. International 420 Boys, Oliver Hurwitz (New York, N.Y.) and Ethan Froelich (Austin, Texas), finished sixth in their fleet. Nacra 15 athletes, Jack Sutter (Benicia, Calif.) and Charlotte Versavel (Palo Alto, Calif.), and 29er Boys, Stephan Baker (Miami, Fla.) and Oliver Duncan (Brooklyn, N.Y.), both finished in ninth overall. This all-around display of talent by U.S. competitors placed the country in the bronze position for the Nations Trophy, the award given to the highest-performing country.

Results - 2019 U.S. Youth World Championship Team:

1st - 29er Girls:Berta Puig (Miami, Fla.) and Bella Casaretto (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
1st - 420 Girls: Maddie Hawkins (Edgewater, Md.) and Yumi Yoshiyasu (Houston, Texas)
4th - Laser Radial Boys, Connor Nelson (Tampa, Fla.)
6th - 420 Boys: Oliver Hurwitz (New York, N.Y.) and Ethan Froelich (Austin, Texas)
9th - Nacra 15: Jack Sutter (Benicia, Calif.) and Charlotte Versavel (Palo Alto, Calif.)
9th - 29er Boys: Stephan Baker (Miami, Fla.) and Oliver Duncan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
16th - RS:X Boys: Alexander Temko (Palm Harbor, Fla.)
17th - RS:X Girls: Dominique Stater (Miami, Fla.)
21st - Laser Radial Girls: Grace Austin (Greenwich, Conn.)

See full results at event www.worldsailingywc.org

Learn more about the 2019 U.S. Youth World Championship Team.

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