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Olympic Champs Return To Games

April 29, 1996

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) _ Mark Reynolds was already thinking about the competition ahead in the Olympic Games.

``There’s a lot of tough guys out there,″ Reynolds said Sunday after he and Hal Haenel took over first place in the 14th and final race in the Star Class of the U.S. Olympic Yachting Trials, earning a spot on the Olympic team in a quest for a third consecutive medal.

``The Europeans have improved and an Italian is the current world champ,″ Reynolds said. ``Hopefully I can get some of the guys here at the regatta to get us tuned up.″

The San Diego skipper, Reynolds, and his crewman from Los Angeles filled two of the three Olympic yachting team spots decided Sunday.

Will Martin of Charleston, S.C., ranked only fifth on the U.S. sailing team, won the Finn Class, but didn’t have long to celebrate. He’s heading for France for the upcoming Finn world championships.

``This postpones getting a job for another three months,″ said Martin, who turned 26 today.

Reynolds-Haenel never led in the 14-race regatta until wrapping up the title with a second-play finish in Sunday’s second race. They had finished sixth in the first race on the same course that will be used in the Olympics in July _ about eight nautical miles off the coast of Georgia in the Atlantic Ocean.

They finished with 33 points, one more than the duo that dominated the regatta _ John Kostecki of San Diego and Tom Olsen of East Dennis, Mass. _ before taking a 12th-place finish in the final race.

``We just didn’t sail all that well,″ said Kostecki, who also said this would be his last attempt to make the Olympic team. ``We made several mistakes.″

Reynolds, 40, said he and Haenel felt less pressure in seeking a third consecutive Olympic team spot. The pair won the silver medal in the 1988 games in Korea.

``We were a little more relaxed maybe this time,″ Reynolds said. ``The other two trials we started pretty hot. We always had other guys snapping at our heels. This time it was just the opposite. We weren’t leading the regatta until we won the thing.″

Eric Doyle and Brian Terhaar, both of San Diego, won both of Sunday’s races and moved up from fifth to a third-place finish with 39 points.

Martin, ranked only fifth on the U.S. sailing team, earned his Olympic berth over two strong contenders: Six-time Finn national champion Brian Ledbetter of Bellevue, Wash., who won the silver medal in the 1992 Olympics, and Sam Kerner of Honolulu, the top-ranked member of the sailing team, who shared the lead for several days until Martin moved to the top spot alone on Saturday.

``I obviously feel great about it,″ Martin said. ``But with our Finn class tradition, just going isn’t good enough. Now you have to go and perform in the Olympics.″

Martin finished the 14-race series with 41 points and Ledbetter had 42. Martin retained the top spot despite finishing 13th and seventh in Sunday’s two races. He got to discard his first-race finish as one of his three throw-outs during the event.

Ledbetter was fourth in the first race and fell to 12th in the second, taking a throw-out for his poorest finish of the regatta.

Russ Silvestri of San Francisco finished third with 43 points and Mark Herrmann of Bothell, Wash., was fourth with 45 points. Kerner finished fifth with 45 points.

Winning Sunday were Savannah’s John Porter in the first race and John Callahan of San Francisco in the second.

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