Kyle Easton Named 2019-20 Robert H. Hobbs Sportsman of the Year for College Sailing 

Senior from Hobart and William Smith Colleges Earns US Sailing Award

Kyle Easton (left)

The Robert H. Hobbs Sportsmanship Award is awarded annually to the Sportsman of the Year for college sailing. The trophy honors Robert Hobbs (MIT ’64), past Executive Vice President of ICSA, past President of US Sailing (1992-1994), and former chair of the U.S. Sailing Olympic Committee.

This year’s winner is Kyle Easton (Winchester, Mass.), a senior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Easton was recognized along with his college sailing peers as part of an Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) virtual awards show streamed live on Facebook on June 13. The Quantum Women’s Sailor of the Year and Marlow Ropes College Sailor of the Year were also announced, as well as the new inductees to the ICSA Hall of Fame.

Despite a shortened season, Easton had a strong senior year. He was named MAISA Sportsperson of the Year and was an All-MAISA co-ed skipper second team selection.

Learn more about Kyle Easton in this Q&A: 

US Sailing: Congratulations! Why did you receive this prestigious Sportsmanship Award?

Kyle Easton: Receiving this award was honestly a pleasant surprise. I was humbled. I have the utmost respect for all of the members of the college sailing community. What makes this community special is the passion and effort the coaches always put into making us get better; both as sailors and people, the competitors always giving 100% on the water and off the water as friends and with the volunteers and judges who generously give their time to the sport we all love. These are the people who make college sailing the great institution it is. It is a great feeling to know I earned their respect.

I must have won this award because these very special people around me thought I was deserving of it. I was thrilled to hear that I made a positive impression on so many people. This award is a reflection on not just me, but the friends and competitors that made my four years on the water unforgettable.

US Sailing: What was your senior season like and how did sailing come together for you despite the shortened season?

Kyle Easton: Luckily, we had the whole fall season, which was great, especially with the implementation of the new fall championship events. With the end to a fall season, I was looking forward to finishing off my senior year and my final sailing season strong. In the spring, we start early so we were still able to begin prepping for the team race season. We also got to sail two events, which allowed us an opportunity to see results from our hard work in the early spring. The cancellation of my last season was disappointing, and it was tough to not have a senior spring as a point of reference. However, it allowed me to reflect on how much I miss being on the water every day, even when I had to chip ice off of my boat at the end of every drill on those cold February days in Geneva. I am grateful that I was able to spend four amazing years at Hobart as part of the sailing team, and my senior year was no different. I will always look back at this season as a reminder of how lucky I am to be involved in such a great sport.

US Sailing: How did you and your teammates handle the cancellation of the spring season?

Kyle Easton: The collective disappointment of missing the spring season and having to say goodbye to my friends and teammates really showed me the strength and importance of the relationships that I had with my team. I was really touched by how supportive everyone was for each other. Even though we were not together, we still had constant communication through Zoom and other channels. I was also really grateful for how supportive our coaches, Scott and Ben, were through the whole situation whether it be calling to check in, setting up virtual regattas, or allowing the seniors to get together one last time to put the boats away. I really think that my teammates, coaches, and the sailing community as a whole did a really great job staying connected with the sport that we all love even when we could not be on the water together.

US Sailing: What are your future sailing plans?

Kyle Easton: In the future I plan on doing as much sailing as possible, whether it be team race events, sailing one-designs, or getting involved with local club fleets. I am extremely lucky to have built the relationships in the sailing community that I have, and I know that they will last a lifetime. I am really looking forward to seeing my teammates and other members of the college sailing community out on the water in the near future.