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No. 2 Bulldogs Seek Some Sunshine

Claire Dennis and Heather May. (Photo by Lincoln Benedict)
Claire Dennis and Heather May. (Photo by Lincoln Benedict)

Bulldogs Head to Florida for Atlantic Coast Championships

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The No. 2 Bulldogs will take to the warm waters of St Petersburg, Fla. this weekend for the Atlantic Coast Championships hosted by Eckerd. The Sunshine State is predicted to offer sunny sailing with temperatures in the high 70s as well as stiff competition from the best teams in the country. Once the sun sets on Sunday, the Bulldogs' fall season will conclude.

Last year, the Bulldogs finished third at the Women's Atlantic Coast Championships hosted by Brown on the Narragansett Bay in Cranston, R.I. The breeze that was predicted never showed up, allowing for the completion of a mere eight races in the rainy New England fall weather. Sarah Lihan '10 and senior Elizabeth Brim finished third in A division while sophomores Claire Dennis and Heather May finished eighth in B division.

As is habitually the case, the Bulldogs will face top competition. While the Atlantic Coast Championship only includes the top teams from the New England, Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions, only one of the teams in the recently released national rankings, No. 11 Stanford, hails from another area of the country. However, because of the quotas for the regatta not all of the ranked teams qualified for the event while some unranked teams did. No. 14 Charleston, No.15 Eckerd and the University of South Florida will represent the South Atlantic while No. 4 Saint Mary's, No. 7 Hobart William Smith, No. 8 Georgetown, No. 9 Old Dominion, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Navy and George Washington will represent the Mid-Atlantic. No. 1 Boston College, the No. 2 Bulldogs, No. 3 Connecticut College, No. 5 Harvard, No. 10 Coast Guard, No. 12 Tufts and No. 13 Dartmouth will represent New England. The only ranked team that will be absent from this weekend is No. 6 Brown who was previously ranked No. 1.

The weekend will be sailed in two divisions of FJs, which is the boat that will be sailed at the National Championships in the spring. Thus, the Atlantic Coast Championships will be a mini-nationals of sorts in terms of competition as well as in terms of the boat sailed. Essentially, the Atlantic Coast Championships are the championships of the fall season and often define the success of the fall season and the mood going into the offseason. This weekend will be an excellent benchmark for the Bulldogs as they head into the offseason, allowing them to see where they stand and what they need to maintain and improve for the May National Championships.

The Bulldogs are certainly prepared for the weekend as they have successfully competed at numerous top regattas this fall. Both skippers were also in action this weekend. Dennis hopes to carry over her Florida success from last weekend's win at the National Singlehanded Championships held in St Petersburg, Fla. She will team-up with May in A division as they endeavor to capitalize on the experience they gained at last year's Atlantic Coast Championships. Freshman skipper Marlena Fauer competed quite successfully at the Freshman Intersectional hosted by Connecticut College last weekend, beating many of the top male skippers in the class of 2014. She will pair up with freshman Eugenia Custo Grieg in B division.

At the beginning of the season, the Bulldogs set the goal of being the best by the end of the fall. Despite being a very young team, the Bulldogs are on their way to doing just that, winning regattas and proving to the College Sailing World that they are a team to beat. As the great athlete Bo Jackson once said, "Set your goals high, and don't stop til you get there." This weekend could mark that achievement for the Bulldogs.  

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity