The final day of racing at the Columbia River Gorge for the APS/ICSA National Championship has ended with Roger Williams University coming out on top to win the Walter C. Wood Memorial Trophy. Today was the culmination of three days of racing which included six round robins. The fourteen top collegiate team race teams in the country, representing the seven districts in the ICSA, gathered to compete for the championship. The Columbia Gorge Racing Association and the Northwest Intercollegiate Sailing Association organized a great event for the sailors as the regatta hosts.
The competitors arrived at the sailing venue to a steady 15-knot breeze and a cool 45 degrees. The sailors hit the water to complete the second round of the Gold Fleet round robin. There was close and exciting racing down to the end. The winds continued to gust in the 20 knot range and each team fought to move on. One team who sailed particularly well was the College of Charleston, who beat Boston College in a blustery race finishing with a solid 1,2,3. Charleston went 5-2 in the second round of the Gold Fleet and Boston College went 6-1 in the round, which advanced both of them to the Final Four.
Although St. Mary’s College of Maryland sailed well in the second round, when their score from the second round was combined with their previous record it was not enough to advance them. The two other teams who moved on to the Final Four were Georgetown and Roger Williams. Roger Williams had been sailing very well through the whole event, until this morning when they lost the first races of the day. The Roger Williams sailors knew that they had to win all three races in the Final Four to win the event, 'The break in the middle of the day [between the Gold Round and the Final Four] gave us a chance to get focused. They played the corn hole bean bag game and took their minds of the morning’s races,' explains Amanda Callahan head coach for Roger Williams.
Once Roger Williams hit the water, 'they knew what the job was and they went out and did it,' says Callahan. They were tied with Boston College going into the last race of the Final Four and the race was not short of excitement. Boston College was ahead at the start of the race and the pairings kept changing all over the course. By the leeward mark Boston College was spinning a penalty turn and Roger Williams advanced up the beat to win the race finishing with a first and second combination. The teams’ focus helped them stay in the race and win the event. The winning team included skippers Cy Thompson ‘11, Alec Anderson ‘13, Sean Bouchard ’12 with crews: Kelly Stannard ‘12, Sophie Bellacosa ‘13, Bianca Rom ’13, Tyler Wilson ’12, Cameron Pimentel ’13, Joshua Saltmarsh ’11, Haley Powell ’13 and Alyssa Seifert ’13.
It is Roger Williams’ first appearance at the APS/ICSA Team Race National Championship and therefore the school’s first win. They join an elite list of schools that have previously won the title including St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Boston College and Georgetown University among others. 'Colin Merrick [assistant coach for Roger Williams] and I really focused on team racing with the group. Colin was huge in preparing them for this event, we spent a lot of time working with them and it was fun to watch them practice and race,' says Callahan. It was particularly big for the Roger Williams program because the Athletic Director for the school was at the regatta watching from start to finish, it is the first time an athletic team at the school has made it to a championship event.
Tonight the competitors will enjoy an awards banquet for the Team Racing Championship and tomorrow many of them will continue racing in the Gill/ICSA Dinghy National Championship. The racing is set to begin at 10:45 a.m. after a competitor’s briefing and some practice time. Final Four Results:
1. Roger Williams University
2. Boston College
3. College of Charleston
4. Georgetown University
Nationals Website: 2011nationals.collegesailing.info
Video coverage of the racing and interviews with sailors are available on Sailgroove.
View more photos of the event at GTS Photos: www.gtsphotos.com The Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) is the governing authority for sailing competition at colleges and universities throughout the United States and in some parts of Canada. Visit www.collegesailing.org to learn more. The ICSA National Championships are sponsored by Sperry Top-Sider (www.sperrytopsider.com), Annapolis Performance Sailing (www.apsltd.com), Gill North America (www.gillna.com), and US SAILING (home.ussailing.org).