Athlete of the Issue: Jacqui Rice ’20

Rice has been sailing on Lake Wononscopomuc since her Prep year.


Rice has been sailing on Lake Wononscopomuc since her Prep year.

Jacqui Rice ’20 is a four-year senior and co-captain of Varsity Sailing. She has been sailing on Lake Wononscopomuc since her Prep year at Hotchkiss and also served as a Fairfield Farm Ecosystems and Adventure Team (FFEAT) leader for the fall season. Teammate Nicole Morikawa ’21 said, “She is the most thoughtful, considerate, and hard-working person I know. Even though our season [this year] was nonexistent, she would have made a great captain because of her innate kindness. I remember when I first joined the team, I was so nervous. Jacqui was one of my first and best friends on the team, and she was always there to offer support and advice.


What do you love most about sailing?

I love how tactical it is. It really matters that you know what’s happening all the time, especially with high school sailing in two person boats. I’m a crew, so for me it’s fun getting to know your skipper and learning to work with them. I think that’s my favorite part – being able to build a really cool team dynamic with one other person in addition to an entire team.


What were you looking forward to the most this season? 

I was really looking forward to Women’s New Englands, [which is] always fun every year. It’s a bunch of power women sailing, [and] we were such a close second last year and won the year before. I definitely wanted to win this year [and] get our cup back, which would have been really cool [way] to end.


What is your favorite memory or highlight from past seasons?

Definitely winning Women’s New Englands [Herreshoff Championship] my Lower Mid year with Tatiana Whitman ’18, Meredith Moran ’19, and Amelia Popp ’21. We had no subs; it was literally just the four of us and Assistant Coach Amanda McClure P’18, ’22. We were by far the smallest team there, but it was a really good day. [In] our first two races, we finished poorly, but we ended up winning the whole thing. It was quite a rollercoaster ride.


How has your team coped with the pandemic?

We’ve been having some team meetings, and we’ve also had three or four classroom sessions with Dave Perry, a well-known and respected sailor. As a previous sailor for Yale and one of the leading rule experts in the world, he had some pretty helpful advice and it was really cool to have him on some calls. We talked about rules, starting tactics, upwind and downwind tactics, and just team sailing in general. It was really nice to be able to see everyone via Zoom and interact as a team again.


Who has inspired you during your time on the sailing team and why?

Definitely Meredith Moran ’19. When I first arrived at Hotchkiss, I hadn’t really sailed competitively before, so I was very lost. Even though I didn’t sail with her my Prep year, she really helped me improve. She’s just so dedicated, and she’s sailing now at Cornell. I was always so in awe of her dedication, and it really pushed me to be better. 


What advice would you give to current and future Hotchkiss athletes?

I’m still learning about team dynamics and sports, and it’s unfortunate that I didn’t really get the full experience of being captain this year. Honestly, you should just love your team. We’re really lucky at Hotchkiss to have such resources and the opportunity to engage with your peers in such amazing ways. Try your best to learn as much as you can about yourself and others through your sport, because there’s a lot to gain from this experience.