FORT WORTH, Texas – The No. 3 Yale coed sailing team ended the fall season by finishing second at the ICSA Match Racing National Championships held in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Bulldogs faced the top teams in the nation representing each of the seven ICSA districts as they raced for the Cornelius Shields Sr. Trophy. The regatta was held on Eagle Mountain Lake and sailed in J/22's. Yale's team consisted of skipper junior Chris Segerblom with crews junior Max Nickbarg, sophomore Graham Landy and freshman Marly Isler.
In the first stage of the event, all ten teams competed in a round robin, with the top six moving onward to the quarterfinals. Yale was ranked fourth out of this original round robin, with only a 44% win ratio. With their fourth seed, the were matched against against the third seed University of South Florida in a knockout round. The first team with three wins would advance. Landy commented that the team "started off a little slow" using the first round robin as "good practice for the knockout portion of the event." However, the team's "boatspeed and boathandling improved rapidly" giving the Bulldogs the "confidence boost" they needed to beat USF in the knockout round.
The semifinals followed with another knockout round, this time pitting the increasingly confident Bulldogs against Saint Mary's College of Maryland. The Bulldogs quickly won three races, allowing only one win to the Seahawks. Nickbarg credits the Bulldog's ability to "transition well in the changing conditions" as a key to their success.
In the final match-up, Yale faced Tufts. The first team to win two races would take home the championship. The Bulldogs won the first race, however Tufts rallied to win the final two and take the championship.
Despite the disappointing ending, the Bulldogs persevered through a rusty beginning of the three-day event to an impressive second place. With the entire match race team returning next year, the Bulldogs will look only to improve on their successful 2012 finish. Now the Bulldogs will look towards winter off the water training as they gear up for the exciting spring season.
Report filed by Katherine Gaumond '15, Yale Sports Publicity