Bulldogs Finish Sixth at New England Championships
CRANSTON, R.I.- The No. 7 Bulldogs booked a trip to Wisconsin by finishing sixth at the New England Championships hosted by Brown over the weekend. The Bulldogs qualified for the national semi-finals to be held on May 25 and 26.
Saturday was an endurance test for the sailors. They headed out early in the beautiful sunshine and were able to complete one set in each division before the northerly that ranged from four to 15 knots died at lunchtime. With no breeze, the sailors were forced to wait on land until 3:30pm when the sea breeze built with a vengeance from the south. The wind grew to 15 to 18 knots with waves. Wanting to make up for the recess in the middle of the day, the race committee kept races going until 7:15 p.m.
Sunday brought with it rain drops and lighter breeze of four to six knots ranging from the south to southeast. A division was able to complete one set before the breeze died forcing the second middle of the day hiatus of the weekend. A six to 12 knot breeze accompanied by some sunshine filled in from the south at 1:30. Two more sets in B division and one in A division were completed. An eleventh race was competed in A division but B division was unable to get a race off before the 4:30 p.m. NEISA Sunday afternoon cut off.
The dynamic duo of senior Sarah Lihan and junior Elizabeth Brim along with heavy crew Rebecca Jackson finished fifth in A division storming back on Sunday. Brim sailed in the first two races and was then replaced by Jackson for the third and fourth races as the wind built. Brim returned for the final six races of the regatta. They finished in the top ten in eight of the ten races, including a win in race nine. They didn't finish out of the top six in the six races sailed on Sunday.
The freshman pair of Claire Dennis and Heather May finished fourth in B division, a mere three points out of third and nine points out of second. They remained remarkably consistent over the weekend despite the drastic changes in wind pressure. They finished in the top ten in all ten races including five top-fives.
No. 4 Brown used the advantage of home waters to take home the New England Championship. No. 5 Harvard finished second, nabbing the second automatic spot in the national finals by three points over third place finisher No. 1 Boston College. No. 9 Connecticut College grabbed the fourth spot. No. 14 Tufts actually tied the Bulldogs for fifth but won the tiebreaker. No. 8 Dartmouth snatched the final NEISA semi-finals berth with their seventh place finish.
This was the last women's regatta prior to Nationals for the Bulldogs. However, Lihan and Brim will be sailing at the New England Team Racing Championships in two weekends and some of the Bulldogs will compete in co-ed events around New England in the next few weekends. These last regattas of the spring season as well as a full month of practice will prepare the Bulldogs for the challenge they will face in Wisconsin as they look to upset higher ranked teams and repeat as National Champions.
Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity