WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) – Surf’s up for the University of North Carolina Wilmington Surf Team. The nationally-ranked surf team took home the first place title for the third consecutive year at the 2011 National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) East Coast Championships held in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. April 7-10, 2011.
With record crowds, stellar weather and topnotch wave conditions the UNCW Surf Team shredded their way past teams from up and down the eastern seaboard in the college team division. College teams from the University of North Florida, Flagler, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Central Florida, Daytona State College, University of Florida, University of Central Florida, Stetson and Florida State University attempted to rip past UNCW, but the team held strong and finished with 115 points, 23 points ahead of the University of Florida’s second place score.
“This year our timing was impeccable,” said Cody Leutgens, captain of the UNCW team. “We have competitive team members who are all able to surf strong, which definitely helped us capture our third victory.”
The competition was scored by individual surfers who gained points toward the team score as they advanced through each heat. The top three surfers moved forward to the next heat, with first place gaining six points, second place earning five points and third place awarded four points. Five members of the UNCW Surf Team made it to the finals, two short boarders, one long boarder and both female competitors. Long boarder Drake Courie placed first overall in the college long board division.
The team will now travel to Salt Creek, Calif. June 16-18 to compete in the 2011 NSSA National Championships. The team made history in 2009 and 2010 at the Championships with the best finish ever of an East Coast university. The team placed second after competing in a sudden death surf-off against some of the top collegiate surfers in the nation in 2009 and finished fourth at the 2010 competition.
“I have high expectations for our team this year at nationals,” said Coach Dylan McNamara. “The group of surfers I’ve had on the team the past three years is definitively the best East Coast college surf team in history and, with a win this year at nationals, arguably the greatest college surf team of all time.”
The 2010-2011 UNCW Surf Team includes captain Cody Leutgens, Nick Bland, Thomas Bruce, Drake Courie, Sean Herman, Zack Kenny, Morgan O’Connell, Airlie Pickett, Leilani Pickett, Romy Sidelski, Ben Powell and Ian Tilghman. The team is led by coach Dylan McNamara, a physics and physical oceanography professor at UNCW and assistant coach Mike Powell, a former national champion and UNCW graduate.
The team plans to train together at the Cape Fear Sports Enhancement Facility for the championships as well as their usual surf sessions when the weather and the waves make for a perfect day in the water.