Hope freshman Drew Wierda competed in the international Tornado Series of the Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta finishing fourth in a quest to compete in the 2008 Olympics.

The five days of sailing concluded Friday in the ocean waters offshore Miami. The fleet included 2004 Olympians from Germany and Canada, together with U.S. silver medalists John Lovell and Charles Ogletree.

Wierda and teammate Don Thinschmidt finished fourth for the United States. The two men began their quest for a US Sailing Team berth in 2002 when they began pursuing an Olympic class campaign. With the support of Olympic coaches Jonathon Ferrar (USA) and Pete Conway (GB) and lead sponsorship of Crown Motors of Michigan, they competed in the 2004 Athens Olympic Trials last February.

With their fourth place finish, they secured their place on the 2005 U.S. Sailing Team and will continue their quest for Olympic gold in Beijing (2008).

Wierda and Thinschmidt began their sailing careers together with the Macatawa Bay Junior Association (under the direction of Bob Kool) more than a decade ago. They continued sailing together through the Macatawa Bay Yacht Club (Holland, Michigan), Card Sound Sailing Club (Ocean Reef, Key Largo, Florida), and Chicago Yacht Club (Chicago, IL).

Wierda is a 2004 graduate of Westminster Christian High School in Miami, Florida and is currently a freshman at Hope. Thinschmidt is a 2003 graduate of Holland Christian High School and is a sophomore at Northwestern University.