April 29, 2012

No. 1 Bulldogs Collect New England Awards

 Bulldogs On Cusp of Qualifying for Team Race Nationals

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The No. 1 Yale coed sailing team just missed qualifying for the National Team Race Championships in the highly competitive New England region, finishing fifth at the Fowle Trophy hosted by MIT on the Charles River. The Bulldogs also finished fourth at the George Morris Trophy up the river at Boston University.

The Bulldogs knew going into the weekend that competition for the three qualifying spots at nationals would be extremely high. In fact, doing well at the New England Championships is sometimes more difficult than doing well at the National Championships because the New England field is incredibly deep. The Bulldog's experiences this weekend proved just how competitive New England is. 

Despite large wind predictions earlier in the week, the breeze only ranged from three to 13 knots on Saturday. It came out of the west-southwest to the northwest throughout the day. The Bulldogs started off the day with a qualification round against Brown, Tufts, Connecticut College, MIT and Bowdoin. Their four wins and one loss put them comfortably in the top four moving them on to the gold round which included the top eight teams from the two qualification groups. The Bulldogs finished the first gold round robin with four wins and three loses, finding some difficulties but keeping themselves very much in it. The second gold round robin was started before the sun started to set and the weary sailors hit the docks.

Sunday provided more variable breeze with wind from the west from four to eight knots to start the day. It then ranged back and forth from the west to the north and from five to 20 knots. The second gold round robin was completed followed by a final six round robin with Boston College, Brown, Roger Williams, Tufts, Yale and Harvard. The Bulldogs remain right in the thick of things until the very end of the day when a loss to Tufts sealed their fate. Boston College, Brown and Roger Williams claimed the New England spots at the National Team Race Championships.

Junior captain Cam Cullman, senior Joseph Morris and sophomore Christopher Segerblom skippered for the entire weekend for the Bulldogs. Crews did not switch around much due to the relatively steady velocity and the Bulldogs only made one switch for the last two races of the regatta. Freshman Katherine Gaumond, junior Heather May, sophomore Amanda Salvesen and senior Genoa Warner crewed for the Bulldogs.

While the weekend was disappointing, many Bulldogs collected awards on Saturday evening at the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association banquet held just down the river at the Harvard boathouse. Morris walked away with the most accolades. He was named to the New England first skipper team and was named the New England sailor of the year.  He was also selected by the other members of the class of 2012 as the winner of the Senior Trophy, which is given to "the person who has exhibited the best display of skill and sportsmanship over the last four years in NEISA."

Cullman was also named to the New England first skipper team. Segerblom and freshman Graham Landy were named to the New England second skipper team. Landy also won rookie of the year honors. Not to be left out, Yale's crews also took home numerous awards. May was named the crew of the year and given the Babineau Trophy. She was also named to the New England first crew team. Seniors Isabel Elliman and Warner were named to the New England second crew team. 

Another team of Bulldogs sailed at the George Morris Trophy at Boston University finishing fourth. In his last collegiate regatta senior skipper Robert Struckett finished eighth in A division with crew Sarah Smith. Junior skipper Claire Dennis and senior crew Stephanie Schuyler finished second in B division, collecting two wins. 

The Bulldogs can now focus completely on fleet racing for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season. After a week off for exams, the Bulldogs will return to the water to prepare for the National Semifinals May 12 and 13. 

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity 

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