Lake Forest sailors deserve an athletic study hall


Scouts and Coach Steve at MISSA Baker qualifiers in Chicago. Courtesy of Will Howard, LFHS sailing coach.

Josie Janowicz, Staff Writer

Sailing is a sport that goes very unnoticed when ironically it is one of the most successful teams at LFHS.

But, just like hockey players, sailors do not receive study halls for their participation because both sports are not under IHSA recognition. 

In 2019, Forest Scout editor Casey Murray wrote an article called “Study Hall to be limited to IHSA sports.” He outlined how the District 115 School Board planned to formally restrict athletic study halls to only go to students participating in IHSA sports effective starting in the 2020-2021 school year. The article states that the administration ultimately decides which students receive athletic study halls and which don’t.  

Most sports are just one season but there are a few sports that have two. The cheer team, the poms team, and the sailing team all practice over two seasons. By participating in cheer and dance, junior and senior athletes get athletic study halls for both semesters. However, sailing doesn’t even get one. 

The LFHS sailing team practices both during the fall and spring seasons. Fall is more geared towards bringing newer team members up and helping them improve, while the spring is strictly race season. 

All high school teams are part of the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) which is made up of 7 districts. The Lake Forest team is part of MISSA, the Midwest Interscholastic Sailing Association. 

Baker Nationals in Texas.
Courtesy of Jess Perkins.

Last spring, we qualified for both nationals, Baker and Mallory Nationals. Two nationals seem very strange for most sports, but for sailing they are for the two different types of racing. Baker is team racing, and Mallory is fleet racing. 

Team racing is where two high school teams compete against each other, racing three vs three. The boats work together to try to get different combinations of finishes to win the race. 

Fleet racing is every boat for themself. There is always an A fleet and a B fleet with one boat from each team in each fleet. The total points of the team are added up and the team with the least points wins. 

We were one of only a handful of teams in the country to qualify for both events. Placing in these events showed our status as the best in the Midwest and the best of MISSA. 

While we have accomplished all of these achievements, we still do not get the credit we deserve. Part of this goes back to not receiving an athletic study hall.

During the fall we practice three times a week, three hours a day. We travel on the occasional weekends but leave most of the 420 racing to the spring. 

While there is no practice in the winter because of the weather, a big group of Lake Forest sailors travel to warmer places like Florida and South Carolina to attend clinics and participate in other regattas as well. In the spring, we practice almost every day also for three hours, making the most of our short daylight early on in the season, and extending our practices closer to the summer. Additionally, we travel at least two weekends out of a month, going as far as San Diego, California for our regattas. 

Scouts practicing on the water right before racing at Baker Nationals in Texas. Courtesy of Jess Perkins.

“Sailing is a very time-consuming sport,” senior LFHS sailing team co-captain Henry Scholz said. “By having an athletic study hall we would be able to take care of a large portion of our homework during school thereby making our days less stressful.”

Not only would this help our athletic performance, but Scholz claims it would also “affect our grades in a positive manner.”

Despite all the positive effects a free period during our school day would give us, we still don’t get our athletic study hall.

Understandably, there are reasons that are stopping this from happening. Many parents have even gone to administration to try to win the study hall for their sailors but none have been successful. 

As a very involved and accomplished team, the LFHS sailing team should have the recognition and support they deserve. Lake Forest High School administration could set the example for making sure that all of their sports, regardless if they are recognized by the IHSA, receive the study hall they have earned.