No. 4 Bulldogs Secure Spot in ICSA Semifinals

Second-Place Finish Moves Team One Step Closer to Nationals

NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Bulldogs finished second at the New England Dinghy Championship this weekend at Connecticut College, earning the team a berth at the ICSA Semifinals.  The Bulldogs also finished 10th at Boston University and had a top finish of fifth at the Short Beach Invitational. 

Facing what will likely be the same meteorological themes at the national championship, the Bulldogs clawed past the competition this weekend on the Thames River.  The breeze would be at times dead and at other times brisk; sometimes there was current and sometimes not.  The conditions on Wisconsin's Lake Mendota are largely unknown, but casual chatter around the clubhouse suggests that a light-air regatta may be in store.  This weekend's regatta may have offered a preview of what competitors will see in just over a month.  And if that's the case, the competition has a lot to be worried about.

Sailing in A division, senior Thomas Barrows and junior Blair Belling won two races and logged 8 top-fives in 17 races to finish third with 103 points.  Sophomore Joseph Morris teamed up with seniors Mike Hession and Marla Menninger to take fourth in B division with 114 points.  Morris and Hession/Menninger won three races and notched nine top-five finishes.  Connecticut College borrowed Coast Guard's 420s for the event, which was won by Boston College. 

The top-eight finishers at the event transfer to the ICSA Semifinals, which are two, eighteen-boat, simultaneous intersectional regattas.  NEISA and MAISA each have eight berths total across both the eastern and western semifinal.  From this point forward, geography does not matter; the top-9 teams at each semifinal, regardless of district, will qualify for the ICSA/Gill Co-ed National Championship.  Also qualifying from NEISA are Boston College, Brown, Harvard, Roger Williams, Salve Regina, Tufts and Vermont.  Based on a preliminary seeding document, it appears that the Bulldogs will be headed to Seattle, Wash., for the western semifinal.  The semifinals are held the weekend of May 1-2.

A second set of Yale sailors experienced ephemeral river breezes this weekend, competing in the Oberg Trophy on the Charles River.  The regatta, named after an MIT professor, hosted by Northeastern University, and sailed out of Boston University's venue, tried the race committee and sailors' patience all weekend.  Rain showers throughout the area drenched sailors on multiple occasions, and often led to radical windshifts.  Conditions on Saturday were variable and rewarded dynamic sailing.  Both divisions experienced inconsistent finishes, but ultimately were able to post strong scores.  In A division, freshman Emily Billing and sophomore Margot Benedict ended the day with a top finish of third.  Junior Andrew Kurzrok and freshman Grace Zimmerly posted a best result of second.  Sunday proved to be a far greater challenge.  After an unexpected rowing regatta forced a postponement of the Oberg until 1 p.m., light winds made it difficult to eke out two more races per division before the 4 p.m. deadline.  The last B division race was sailed at around 3:40 p.m., and finished just as the Charles gave up its last breaths of breeze for the day.  The Bulldogs finished tenth overall, and Boston University won the regatta.

Yale also played host to Southern Series Five, the Short Beach Invitational.  Eight teams descended on the McNay Family Sailing Center, and a combined-division rule meant that 16 boats would be on the starting line.  The Bulldogs sent two complete teams, or four boats, to the event.  Sailing for the Bulldogs were seniors Rebecca Jackson and John Vrolyk, juniors Alexa Chu and Nathan Stevens, sophomores Caroline Elenowitz, Chris Ell, Isabel Elliman, Stephanie Schuyler and Genoa Warner and freshmen Senem Cilingiroglu, Zach Foreman and Jo Hanle.  Vrolyk and Elliman took top honors for the Bulldogs, finishing fifth overall.  Brown won the event.       

Next week the Bulldogs compete in the Freshman Single Division Championships at Mass. Maritime, the Thompson Trophy at Connecticut College, and the BU Trophy at Boston University.

Report filed by Andrew Kurzrok '11, Yale Sports Publicity