Battles for Semi-Final Berths Around the Country

This weekend brought intense battles around the country for qualifying spots at the ICSA National Semi-Finals in May.

college sailing
The Coast Guard Academy Bears sailed to their second consecutive New England Championship victory at the Reed Trophy.Coast Guard Academy Sailing

NEISA

In the north, the Coast Guard Academy defended the NEISA Championship title for a second year in a row, winning the Reed Trophy New England qualifier hosted by Brown University. The Bears returned to the Reed Trophy with all but one of their 2016 Championship team, with Nikki Barnes and Dana Rhode leading the Academy to their second consecutive victory. Rhode, along with crew Maddie Ekin scored just 45 points over the 14 race event in B-division.

In A-division, Boston College's Erika Reineke (‘17) and Allison Ferraris (‘17) sailed to victory with 63 points. NEISA’s A-Division featured some of the best sailors in the country and the Eagle’s victory came down to an exciting final race. Overall, however, the Bears made a strong push on Saturday to pass Boston College's early lead, and were able to hold of the Eagles throughout the remainder of the event. Coast Guard finished the regatta with 112 points, scoring just one double-digit finish over the course of the weekend, while Boston College finished second with 121 points.

The battle for the final qualifying berth was hard fought, with several teams sitting within striking distance going into the final set. In the end, Harvard sat tied with the Bowdoin Polar Bears for the tenth and final spot. The two schools split head-to-head races, but had the same number of 1st place finishes, seconds, thirds and fourths. Bowdoin, with more fifth place finishes, settled the tie-breaker for the final spot at semi-finals.

“The fleet was stacked,” stated Bowdoin Head Coach Frank Pizzo. “The event could not have been much closer,” continued Pizzo. “For the Polar Bears, we really just tried to focus on our boats throughout the event. On Saturday, we simply tried to use our speed and conservative tactics to keep our team in the hunt. It was obviously tough to end the day with a DSQ in A division. As a team we focused on remaining positive and controlling the controllables.”

“We knew the points were compressing throughout Sunday but really tried to just have good starts and sail smart conservative races. We had our best start of the day in A division in race 14 and it allowed for a great race. For the B race, we were able to get off Ok in the middle but saw others teams that we were competing against over early or not having great starts. We were all pretty even at the second windward mark and new every single point would matter and did just enough. A tension convention for sure.”

Yale, Boston University, Brown, University of Rhode Island, Dartmouth, Tufts, Vermont and Bowdoin comprised the remainder of the ten NEISA berths for the national semi-final in May.

In Boston, MIT narrowly won their home event – after 33 total races on the Charles River only 1 point could discern the Engineers from the Boston College Eagles at the 82nd Boston Dinghy Challenge Cup. MIT pushed ahead after a slow start to take the lead after the sixth race of the regatta.

Ty Ingram (‘18) and Sameena Shaffeeullah ('19) won A-division for the Engineers, while B-division went to Charles “Scotty” Sinks (‘18) and Lily McGrath (‘18) for the Eagles after a tie-breaker with MIT’s Alexander Stewart (‘17) and Paige Omura (‘17). Wade Waddell (‘19) of BC with Emma Perry (‘19) won C-Division by nearly 30 points.

MAISA

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland women showed their dominance in MAISA this weekend, with an emphatic win at the Women's Championship hosted by the Naval Academy. Seniors Greer Wattson and Elizabeth Dennison strung together 8 wins in the 15 race regatta, to sail to a 19 point lead in B-division ahead of Cornell. The duo led St. Mary’s to a strong overall performance, taking the lead after the first race, and surrendering it for just two races throughout the rest of the event.

Rose Edwards (‘18) and Emily Fung (‘17) sailed to a victory in A-division for 11th ranked Georgetown with 51 points. For her definitive performance throughout the season, as well as at the qualifying event, Rose Edwards was named MAISA Women’s Sailor of the Year. Georgetown University finished second at the event with 13th ranked George Washington sailing into third. Hobart and William Smith, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, Fordham, Navy and University of Virginia filled the remaining qualifying spots, and will go on to represent MAISA at the ICSA Semi-finals in Charleston.

MCSA

Northwestern University hosted the MCSA Coed Championship, with five berths on the line for the national semi-final. University of Wisconsin sailed to victory with 54 points after 10 races in each division. In B-division, senior Charles Bocklet with sophomore Maggie Houtz took the top spot for the Badgers with 24 points. In A-division, the Northwestern Wildcats sailed to victory, led by Mark Davies ('20) and Michael Pauleen ('18).

Northwestern finished second overall at the event, despite their A-division win, and will be joined by UW Milwaukee, University of Michigan and Marquette to represent MCSA at the national qualifier.

SEISA

Texas A&M University at Galveston took a decisive victory at the SEISA Coed Championship, winning all but four of the 18 races. John Hanna (‘19), with Megan Ferguson (‘17) and Haley Walker (‘18) claimed the top spot in A-division, while teammates Alexander Thompson (‘18), Hannah Barlow (‘20) and Megan Ferguson (‘17) shared their own victory in B-division.

Texas A&M finished second to claim the last berth, eeking out a narrow two-point lead over Tulane.

NWISCA

Oregon State University won the NWICSA Team Race Championship in dramatic fashion over the University of Washington Huskies. After a 1-2 record against the huskies during the first 3 round robins, the Beavers of Oregon State won both of the final two head-to-head races to secure a trip to Charleston for the Team Race Nationals in Charleston, May 27-29.