Hector Guzman ’20 and Maya Weber ’20

The Windward Duo

By Morgan Gilbard ’15

Northwest winds barreled toward Seneca Lake as Hector Guzman ’20 and Maya Weber ’20 defended Hobart and William Smith’s David Arnoff Trophy from challengers on a 420 sailboat last fall. “The odds were against us,” says Guzman. Ten points down from challenger Georgetown, Guzman, Weber and their teammates were fighting to secure the trophy for the second year in a row.

“It was cold; it was breezy. There was a lot of pressure to win here at home. But Maya and I pulled it together,” Guzman says. The sailing duo finished in the top 10 in all races that day, helping the Colleges win both divisions and keep the trophy once again.

“It’s always a good feeling to win, but you have to remember that you’re always working toward the next race and need to keep your momentum up,” says Weber. “You have to keep looking ahead.”

For the two economics majors, sailing is a mindset that extends beyond the 14 hours of practice each week. This summer, Weber competed on behalf of the U.S. at the Lightning Youth Worlds in Greece and interned at M&T Bank in Buffalo while Guzman, a long-time veteran of international competition, worked at a Chicago financial firm.

Coach Scott Iklé ’84, who led the team to the No. 3 slot in Sailing World’s college coed rankings last season, says from the first day they were partnered at practice, “it just clicked. They sense and know what the other person needs while racing. There’s a synergy there where the whole is greater than the parts.”

Guzman grew up in Huixquilucan, Mexico, on a sailboat and began competing internationally at 11 years old. “I’ve made sacrifices to sail throughout my life and it’s been worth it,” says Guzman, who plans to pursue a career in finance. “I’ve skipped the ‘normal things’ kids do over the years so I can put my grades first and have the opportunity to compete. I’ve missed Christmases and vacations with my family. But the reason I chose to come to HWS was because I wanted a balance between a competitive sailing program and good academics. I don’t have to make that sacrifice here.”

Weber, a native of Amherst, N.Y., also is engaged beyond the water. On campus, she serves on the student advisory board for the Bozzuto Center for Entrepreneurship; is a member of the Finance Society, a career-readiness group led by the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education; and works in the Office of Admissions.

“I wanted a school that was small and communityoriented. I wanted to be involved in classroom discussions and know my professors and my peers in a profound way,” says Weber. “I’ve surrounded myself with a community that helps me stay passionate about what I like to do. Being part of a team has made a fundamental difference in my experience here.”

Iklé looks forward to future seasons with the duo. “On any athletic team, you work so hard together that there is a bond that can’t always be formulated in other ways. You’re setting goals. You’re trying to achieve something and you’re in it together.”


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