College Sailing: Spring Season Update
Published on May 1st, 2018
Chris Klevan provides this week’s update on activity in the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA).
#3 Boston College won the US Coast Guard Alumni Bowl/ NEISA Coed Championship last weekend, hosted by Brown University, defeating the field in New England by an 18 point margin. Eleven of the 18 teams featured are currently ranked in the top 20 which made for a showdown as the top 8 finishers move on to ICSA Coed National Semi-Final Championship regatta held May 29-30 at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Boston College’s Wade Waddell ‘19, Emmy Perry ‘19, and Katharine Bowman ‘20 pulled ahead of B-Division challenges from #8 Roger Williams, Martim Anderson ‘18, Rebecca Anderson ‘18, and Michael McBrien ‘18 early in the event as Waddell, Perry, and Bowman won 4 of the first 7 races sailed.
Despite finishing the event with 61 points after 14 races sailed, the BC Eagle’s B-Division finished only 7 points ahead of the Roger Williams’ B-Division. However, the two B-Division boats were 30 plus points ahead of the rest of the division which, ultimately, was the difference in the regatta as the top-6 A-Division boats all finished within 7 points of each other.
NEISA Sailor of the Year, Chris Williford ‘19, sailing with Rebecca McElvain ‘19 and Sophia Diserio ‘18, won a tightly contested A-Division impressively, winning 5 of the 14 races sailed. Only a 15, 15 final set made the division a contest in the closing moments of sailing on Sunday. Williford, McElvain, and Diserio finished with single-digit scores throughout 11 of the first 12 races.
#9 Dartmouth is a team to keep an eye on, not solely due to the obvious skill of Williford and company. Lake Mascoma thawed last Thursday and the Big Green can just now complete a full week of practice on their home waters. Finding the podium at a conference championship while still shaking off the rust is truly amazing.
“Coed New Englands is one of the most special weekends of the year; for one weekend, there are truly no conflicts with that regatta,” said Dartmouth Head Coach, Justin Assad. “A Division is always a checklist of the best college sailors in the nation, and this year was no exception. We saw a nice balance of younger talent and workhorse seniors who have had their noses to the grindstone for four years preparing for this event.
“The weekend was a great mix of typical Narragansett Bay seabreeze conditions on Saturday, and trickier shifty conditions in Sunday’s westerly breeze. For Christopher, Rebecca, and Sophia, the key was starting consistently, executing their gameplan cleanly, and trusting their training in terms of speed and decision-making.
“Christopher is an outstanding helmsman in all three phases of the game (boathandling, speed, strategy) and Rebecca brings a very sharp sailing mind to the front of the boat, and then when the breeze was up on Saturday, Sophia Diserio is among the best “step up” crews out there in terms of fitness, feel, and sheer grit.
“The combo of the skipper/crew chemistry, raw talent, and experience led them to the win. However, I think the A-Division sailors would agree that we left points on the table, and we’re looking forward to practicing hard before ODU to clean up some little mistakes.”
Going into the final set of the regatta, Brown held a slim lead over the Terriers of BU and Bowdoin, sitting 3 and 4 points out of 8th, respectively. Mathematically, Harvard was still very much in the hunt as well, 18 points back.
Drama increased heading into final two races as, due to the time left on the clock, it was apparent that race 14A and B would be the final races of the regatta. After a 1,9 finishing both A and B in the penultimate two races, 13A and B, Brown felt safer with BU now 7 points back and Bowdoin 13 points behind.
The RC wisely let the A-Division race sail in entirety while B-Division circled the starting area, nervously watching. Race 14A was finished at 2:30, 30 minutes ahead of the drop-dead time of 3pm. The scores were updated and, with protests pending, BU and Bowdoin both sat 1 point behind Brown with one race to go.
Robby Gearon ‘19 with Lexi Pline ‘19 sailed the final race for BU, knowing they had to beat Brown and Bowdoin to keep their collective season alive. The crowd spectating had now grown as by the start of the last race, A-Division had made it to the docks and were standing watch. The whole event knew what was at stake.
Gearon and Pline made it happen, passing both Brown and Bowdoin with an 8th place finish in the final race, edging Brown by 2 and Bowdoin by 5 points.
#17 Coast Guard finished 4th with 208 points, University of Rhode Island in 5th with 209 points, #1 Yale in 6th with 211, #11 MIT in 7th with 215 and #15 Boston University finished 8th, claiming the final qualifying spot to advance to the ICSA Semi-Final regatta with 234 points.
Notably, #6 Harvard, #16 Brown, #18 Bowdoin and #19 Connecticut College all came up short in what was a battle for the 8th and final spot offered by the championship regatta.
#14 Old Dominion University won the America Trophy hosted by St. Mary’s College of Maryland. The Mid-Atlantic’s Coed Fleet Race Championship sends the top 9 finishers to the ICSA Coed National Semi-Final Championship.
#13 St. Mary’s College of Maryland (212 points) finished 25 points ahead of second place, with the Monarchs of ODU’s win largely attributed to the domination of the B-Division by Jack Elkin ‘19, Stephen Guglielmo ‘19, and Gavin Burkhart ‘20. Scoring only 60 points through 18 races, Elkin, Guglielmo, and Burkhart notched twelve top-3 finishes and 7 bullets – including finishing the event with 7 total points in the final 6 races.
“Sunday was full on,” said ODU Head Coach, Mitch Brindley. “We were sailing the boats better, more physical. We tried to avoid the things that slow you down in the breeze, like tacking, and heeling over. The team’s time with 6:00 am lifts paid off.
“Also, after missing out on Team Race Nationals, we spent a good bit of time going back to some speed work. Old Dominion was in the middle of finals last week. We only had one short practice last week. The team was relaxed and didn’t concern themselves too much with the nature of the regatta.”
ODU’s A-Division team, Jeremy Herrin ‘18 and Carter Little ‘18, was strong as well, finishing 6th, but only 19 points out of the lead which was claimed by #5 Hobart and William Smith’s Griener Hobbs ‘18, Lindsey Kloc ‘19, Kyle Easton ‘20, and Christopher Mason-Hing’19.
“I thought this was a very competitive conference championship,” continued Brindley. “We saw some top teams really struggle at times, and it was tight through much of the regatta. It is important to note that we had a variety of conditions throughout the regatta. The first 4 races were sailed in a 3-4 knot SSW. Then it was a shifty Easterly less than 8 knots before building to about 15 by the end of the day on Saturday. We had a solid day on Saturday in conditions that were not typical ODU conditions.”
ODU will return home for the week of championships. Having won MAISA, the Monarchs will likely be one of the favorites, sailing on home waters. “It will be nice to be home for nationals, but it is a double-edge sword,” stated Brindley. “ODU is mostly an open book when it comes to course strategy, without too many secrets. Putting on a good regatta takes the whole team’s involvement, and it can be a big distraction if we let it. But then again, the nationals’ environment can distract everyone.”
HWS finished 3rd with 220 points, #4 Georgetown 4th with 231, #12 Navy was 5th with 258, Fordham was 6th with 261, #10 George Washington was 7th with 269, Cornell was 8th with 272, and Hampton University was 9th with 297 points.
Congratulations to all that will advance to the ICSA Coed National Semi-Final Championship.
University of Michigan won the MCSA Coed Championship held at University of Wisconsin. The 13 team event sends the top-5 finishing teams onto the ICSA Coed National Semi-Final Championship.
It was a battle between the Wolverines of Michigan and the Badgers of Wisconsin throughout the event as the two schools finished with 2 points off each other in competing for the regatta win. Despite the scoreline, the Wolverines seemed like the team to beat as an OCS in race 4A is what prevented Michigan from extending away from the competition. In the 20 race event, Michigan scored only 2 races outside the top 5.
Newcomer to Michigan, August Sturm ‘19 and crew Anna Wisotzkey ‘19 won A-Division despite the OCS. Sturm and Wisotzkey won 4 of the 10 races sailed in A-Division. Charlie Kutschenreuter ‘19 and Olivia Staruck ‘20 won B-Division for Wisconsin, 1 point ahead of Austin Haag ‘20 and Sofia Gambini ‘18 of Michigan.
Michigan finished with 69 points. Wisconsin finished second with 71. Northwestern finished 3rd with 86 points, UW Milwaukee finished 4th with 107 points and Notre Dame edged Marquette, both with 109 points, to finish 5th despite a OCS and a DNF from Notre Dame. The tie-breaker was determined in favor of Notre Dame as the Irish beat Marquette in 12 of the 20 races sailed.
#7 Stanford won the Pacific Coast Coed Dinghy Championship, hosted by University of Hawaii. The top 4 finishing teams win a trip to the ICSA Coed National Semi-Final Championship in Norfolk, Virginia.
“No trade winds with a small front coming through made winds light to moderate,” said Stanford Assistant Coach, Clinton Hayes. “It is a great venue for racing – flat water and shifty but not too shifty. I went surfing every morning.”
Stanford won the event by a somewhat narrow margin over University of California at Santa Barbara. Besides one 11 place finish scored in the middle of the regatta, the Cardinal of Stanford scored only top-6 finishes, including 11 first place finishes in 24 total races. Stanford finished the event with 56 points and sailed 4 exclusively different skipper/ crew combinations.
Romain Screve ‘21 with Sarah Placek ‘20 sailed most of the event in a B-Division win for the Cardinal. Jacob Rosenberg ‘20 and Kathryn Booker ‘19 stepped in for two races in the middle of the regatta.
The Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara largely operated under the same terms as Stanford, sailing all but one of their finishes inside the top-5 and winning 6 of the 24 races. They finished with 64 points.
A-Division was taken by UCSB. Kristopher Swanson ‘18 sailed the first 6 races for the Gauchos with Neil Stapleton ‘18 in the front of the boat. Stapleton stepped in and skippered for races 7-10 with Claire Hunt ‘19 doing the crew work. Finally, to end the event, Christopher Weis ‘18 and Samantha Obel ‘21 stepped in to close the division win for the Gauchos.
The two front runners were well in front of the rest of the regatta as the Berkeley Bears finished 3rd overall with 118 points.
The drama came with the 4th and final qualifying spot. The home team, University of Hawaii pulled ahead of the Mustang of Cal Poly early in the regatta. After two quick sets, the Rainbows sat 19 points ahead of Cal Poly. However, the Mustang ground back to even the score after race 8B. For the remainder of the event, the two teams were never separated by more than 6 points. Cal Poly finished the regatta with 125 points, beating Hawaii by 1 lonely boat.
Background: The ICSA is the governing authority for sailing competition at colleges and universities throughout the United States and in some parts of Canada. There are seven Conferences that schedule and administer regattas within their established geographic regions, with ICSA hosting two national championships in the fall (singlehanded, match racing) and three national championships in the spring (team, women’s, coed). collegesailing.org
2018 Spring Nationals – Norfolk, VA
5/22-25 – Women’s National Championship
5/26-28 – Team Race National Championship
5/29-6/1 – Coed National Championship