A Win in the War Has Lasting Implications

St. Mary's won the War Memorial regatta last weekend at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. This annual intersection is arguably one of the most important regattas of the fall for the Middle Atlantic district (MAISA). In addition to being a qualifier for the Atlantic Coast Championships, it is one of two regattas that determine the order in which teams pick their schedule for the spring season. If a team does not finish well in both regattas, it can limit the regattas that they can get into, making their schedule less competitive and ultimately hurting their team's chance to sail against the top teams. The conditions at Navy did not make it easy for teams to stay consistent. On Saturday, foggy conditions combined with light winds from the south and chop from the weekend boat traffic made the races slow and, at times, frustrating. Sunday was clear with a puffy breeze out of the southwest at between 5 and 15 knots. "The weird atmosphere on Saturday made the puffs difficult to see on top of the breeze being light," said Georgetown junior Andrew Campbell. Sunday's conditions were more straightforward, he added. "The puffs were easier to see." Finishes were up and down for almost every team. Campbell and his crew, freshman Blaire Herron, were an exception as they were able to stay relatively consistent in the difficult conditions on Saturday and then capitalized on the more straightforward conditions on Sunday, moving up to first place in A division. Also sailing a solid regatta was St. Mary's sophomore Andrew Watters, with crews Meredith Nordhem and Blake Deboer. They finished in the top three in 12 of 18 races, winning B division by 21 points. To determine spring schedule rankings for MAISA, the finishes from the War and America Trophies are combined and the team with the lowest score gets the top ranking. With a first place finish at both the America Trophy last spring and the War Memorial regatta last weekend, St. Mary's earned the first spot. Hobart had a second place finish at the America Trophy and while they technically finished fourth at the War, it was a New England school in third so that place is ignored for the schedule rankings and Hobart's finish last weekend is bumped up to third. Georgetown follows Hobart with a second place at War and a fourth at the America Trophy. Kings Point is fourth, Old Dominion, fifth, and Navy, sixth. Being one of the top six teams is extremely important when it comes to scheduling. Once the ranking of teams has been decided, three drafts are created. "One draft is MAISA only events including MAISA intersectionals [multi-district regattas]," says Georgetown coach Michael Callahan, "another draft is out-of-district intersectionals and the third draft is women's only, in- and out-of-district regattas." The draft order for the women's rankings is based on the fall and spring MAISA women's championships with the tie going to the team who finished higher in fall regatta. The coed ranking system uses a similar tiebreaker. From there a "complicated matrix system" is used for each draft where the first- through sixth-ranked teams pick their first choice regatta to attend in round one. In round two the draft is expanded to include the top 10 teams and five more teams are added to each successive round. In other words, the top six teams will get their top three picks before the 16th ranked team gets its first pick. Teams wanting to sail large out-of-district intersectionals, for which MAISA only has a few berths, need to be ranked in the top six. Washington College, a team that's been steadily improving in MAISA, had a good shot at War Memorial to break into the top six. They finished seventh at the America Trophy and a top-five finish last weekend could've moved them in the first round of the schedule draft. Junior Carl Horrocks and freshman Alex Starks sailed a very good regatta in B division, finishing second with only 92 points. However, senior Colin Robertson and sophomore Vanessa Anderson had a more difficult time in A division, finishing 11th with 191 points. The combined total from both divisions dropped Washington College into 9th place overall-7th if only MAISA teams are included-and left them just short of the first round with a seventh-place ranking. The New England district (NEISA) has a slightly more complicated system, though the main premise is similar; good results this year are rewarded with a good schedule next year. "There are two lists," said Tufts coach Ken Legler, "the ranking list and the order of picking out of district intersectionals." A matrix system is also used, but the order is more complicated. Instead of the rounds getting gradually more inclusive as in MAISA, NEISA's rounds jump around a bit. Legler said that for out-of-district intersectionals, "The top eight teams get their first pick in order, then the top six teams get their second, then ninth through 12th get their first pick, then the seventh through 10th get their second pick, then the top 12 schools get their third choice and fourth choice followed by schools ranked 13th through 33rd getting their first pick from what is left." For the in-district intersectionals and championships, the system changes. "The top eight teams get their choice of regattas via their schedule rank," says Legler, "and subsequent entries are determined by qualifying events." This gives the lower ranked teams a chance to get into the larger NEISA intersectionals, like the Danmark and Hoyt Trophies, no matter what their record the previous year. Since the Pacific Coast (PCIYRA) has fewer schools than MAISA or NEISA, a simpler system can be used. Similar to MAISA, two regattas are used to determine the rankings. However an average isn't used, instead, the fall Pacific Coast Championships (a.k.a. the North-South regatta) determines the ranking for the coed spring intersectionals-PCIYRA women's championships determines the women's schedule ranking-and the spring district championships determine the fall intersectional schedule. Also, USC coach Mike Segerblom adds that another difference between the different ranking systems is that in the PCIYRA, "A school cannot get a second intersectional pick until every team has received a berth in their highest spot possible based on the ranking." The spring schedule rankings are now set for MAISA. Next spring, the MAISA teams will return to Navy for the America Trophy, to not only decide their fall schedule, but also determine which teams will represent MAISA at the 2005 Coed North American Championships.