Newport, Rhode Island – The top 18 college sailing teams in the nation have begun the contest they hope will end with their win of the most coveted title of the year – the ICSA/Gill National Championship. From June 2-4, Narragansett Bay will be the stage for this grand finale of the college sailing year after an exciting lead in over the past week that saw Boston College win back-to-back college national championships at the ICSA Women’s National Championship and the ICSA/APS Team Race National Championship.
For many of the competitors in this event, there is not only a college title to be won, but also bragging rights for a crop of sailors who either grew up racing for local yacht clubs or were competitors at one of the area high schools. College of Charleston graduating seniors Chris Lash and Dani Neri (both Newport), sailed for the Ida Lewis Yacht Club racing team and are alums of, respectively, Tabor Academy and Rogers High School. From just over the bridge, Jamestown siblings David and Mike Marshall, graduates of North Kingstown High School, both sail for Connecticut College (class of ’09 and ’11, respectively) and are members of Conanicut Yacht Club. Also sailing for Conn College is freshman Sarah Robertson (Providence), a graduate of The Wheeler School. From up the bay in Bristol come two siblings who graduated from Milton Academy – Charles Enright, Brown ’08, will go up against younger brother Jonathan Enright, Roger Williams University ’10.
Will Gallagher (Little Compton) SUNY Maritime College ’10, graduate of Portsmouth Abbey, Christopher Keimig (North Kingston) University of South Florida ’10, Tyler Baeder (Cranston) University of Vermont ’09, a graduate of Bishop Hendricken and Malay Khamsyvorang (Barrington) Brown ’09, a graduate of Barrington High School, will all add to the mix.
In another twist, St. George’s School will have no less than five alumni on the water when Andrew Schneider, Boston College ‘09, and Hannah Burroughs, Stanford ’11, both Newport residents, face three members of the University of Pennsylvania team who are also graduates: Garth Fasano (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) ’08, Kelley Milllane (Madison, Conn.) ’09 and Bryce LeFort (Stuart, Fla.) ’09.
Only two races were completed for the first day of this championship due to fluky and light breeze, with Harvard University currently leading the standings with 20 points. Georgetown University is second with 21, followed by College of Charleston with 22, MIT with 25, and Boston College with 26. Racing resumes tomorrow, Tuesday, June 3, and concludes on Wednesday, June 4. For additional information and full results: www.collegesailing.org/nas/spring08/
The Event: In the ICSA/Gill National Championship, each of the 18 competing schools fields a separate A and B division team and, weather permitting, each division sails eighteen 20- to 30-minute fleet races over three days for a total of 36 races. A team’s final score is determined by the combined results of its sailors in A and B divisions. In order to get to Newport, a semi-final round determined the schools racing for the ultimate bragging rights associated with winning the ICSA/Gill National Championship title. Where colleges once qualified for the championship strictly via the conference system, the new format first eliminated two controversial at-large berths, and then saw the competitive field double with the addition of the semi-final round. The season’s performance in their respective conference still mattered – it earned 36 teams their bracket slot at the Eastern and Western semi-finals. The top-nine finishers from those semis are racing in Newport – virtually guaranteeing that the 18 most competitive teams in North America are racing for the ICSA/Gill National Championship.
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