Women’s Showcase Finals display Women’s Sailing at its best; NEISA Match Race Champs qualify two for Nationals and MCSA Lasers fill final Singlehanded Nationals bids

Written by Chris Klevan

The Brown Bears won the first annual College Sailing Women's Showcase Final held at Brown. The home team sailed from behind to pass Yale University in the waning stages of the regatta. Yale built an early lead due to a hot start by Christine Klingler ‘20 with Kira Woods ‘19 and Catherine Mollerus ‘21. Klingler and company had no double digit finishes through the first 10 races sailed in B-Division, posting only 3 races outside the top-5. In a regatta designed to be 18 teams deep, such a streak cannot be overstated and Yale found themselves up by 20 points on Brown with only 8 races remaining.

However, Klingler cooled off and Hannah Steadman ‘20 sailing with Maxine De Havernon ‘19 and Emily Ito ‘19 of Brown found her stride, finishing inside the top-5 in the final 7 races of the event, erasing Yale’s lead. Steadman, Havernon and Ito combined to score 9 points in the division’s final 3 races while Klingler, Woods and Mollerus totalled 30 points over the same span. The Bears’ B-Division group won the division by 7 points over Yale..

Louisa Nordstrom ‘20 of Yale, sailing with Graceann Nicolosi ‘20 won A-Division, edging Brown’s Ragna Agerup ‘20 with Magha Malpani ‘19 and Abigayle Konys ‘19 by 5 points. Nordstrom and Nicolosi finished inside the top-5 throughout the last 5 races but Agerup, Malpani and Konys did the same over the final 4 races sailed, allowing Steadman, Havernon and Ito’s late performance to sneak out a victory for the Bears, 158 points to Yale’s 160.

“Really proud of our entire women's group,” said Brown’s Head Coach John Mollicone. “We rotated 4 senior crews in and out with Ragna and Hannah and really tried to just stay as consistent as possible with our results. The conditions were very challenging with primarily a west breeze and some big shifts and velocity changes - we do not see that direction in practice very often and if we do it tends to be easier to figure out than it was this weekend! Not many beats were the same - some had very broad shifts that could last the entire leg, some were just simple stay in phase and there were 5 or more shifts. We didn't fully have it figured out so we really focused on conservative, good starts and avoiding the corners and low percentage decisions. Staying in the race was key as things could get really spread out at times and you could be way in the back”

“Yale sailed extremely well and after a few races on Sunday it became a two team battle for first overall, continued Mollicone. “We didn't really worry about them that much, just stuck to the plan to sailing well and hoped they would make some mistakes. Luckily for us, their mistake came in the last race of the regatta and our B-division finished with a second. Things fell into place but we were very lucky.  If we had more races it easily could have gone the other way. Everyone was really vulnerable out there in the crazy conditions we had.”

MIT finished 3rd with 204 points.
The showcase finals is a new spin on what was once the Women’s Atlantic Coast Championship. Only the qualification system has changed. In past years, 18 berths to the ACCs were spread amongst three conference, New England, the Mid Atlantic and the South Atlantic. Now there are two 18 team regatta, the Showcase Semifinals, used to determine the 18 teams to reach the finals. The top-9 from each semi finals qualify. The goal is to create a more merit based qualification process with Stanford in the mix as well. The result was a regatta with depth similar to the National Championship.

The Coed Showcase finals will take place next weekend at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Dartmouth College won the NEISA Match Race Championships, the Larry White Trophy, over defending Match-Race National Champion, Boston College. The New England Match Race Championship was sailed in Sonars out of Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead. Saturday started racing in a rainy 8-14 knots.

The format was for a eight team round robin to establish seeding for a eight team, best of 3 knockout series. Boston college won the round robin to establish poll position as the 1 seed. They faced Northeastern and won the first race of the series before racing was suspended at the end of Saturday.

The two seed, Bowdon faced off against MIT and the three seed, Yale drew Dartmouth. Both series were tied 1-1 at the end of Saturday.

The fourth seed Brown defeated the fifth seed, Tufts before Sunday’s racing.

Sunday was lighter, 6-12 knots as the first round of knockout sailing was set to commence. Boston College defeated Northeastern 2-0 to move on to face Brown. Bowdoin defeated MIT and Dartmouth surprised the 3 seed, beating Yale. The final four was set and the winners of each respective matchup would move on to contend for the NEISA crown and advance to the ICSA Match Race National Championship, November 16-18 at Balboa Yacht Club as the top-2 finishers qualify out of New England.

Boston College beat Brown handily, 3-0. The Dartmouth, Bowdoin match-up, on the other hand, was much more compelling. 

After 4 races sailed the two schools were knotted up at 2 races each. In the decisive fifth race of the five race series, Bowdoin had taken the lead around the top marks. Dartmouth showed resolve passing Bowdoin on the downwind and finishing less than a boat length ahead of the Polar Bears, qualifying for the Nationals and moving on to face Boston College.  

Dartmouth defeated the defending champions, BC, 2 races to 1 in the finals.

The MCSA Women's Singlehanded Championship was sailed out of Wisconsin, a 10-race series where two of the three sailors entered would move on to the National Championship.

Cailin Considine ‘19 of Wisconsin won 6 of the ten races finishing with two seconds and two redress given scores in the other 4. Considine finished with 12 points in the 10 races sailed.

Rachel Rantanen ‘19 of Michigan State finished second, besting the only other boat in the event, her teammate, Miranda Madden ‘19 by 5 points. Oddly, Rantanen did not start in 6 of the 10 races sailed. Madden only sailed 4 races as well. Rantanen won 3 of the 4 races she started.

Korbin Kierstead ‘19 of Wisconsin won the MCSA Men's Singlehanded Championship decisively, winning 8 of the 10 races sailed. After winning the first race of the event Kierstead never trailed throughout the qualifier. Kierstead finished with 12 points in 10 races.

Bobby Sessions ‘20 of Marquette finished second overall, claiming the other spot to the National Championship. Starting the regatta with a second, Sessions sailed all 10 races either tied for first or in sole possession of the second and final qualifying spot.

Both the men’s and the women’s Laser Performance Singlehanded Championships will be sailed in Holland, Michigan, November 2-4. All conference births allocations have now been filled.

Stanford won the Captain Hurst Bowl, sailed at Dartmouth College. The Cardinal of Stanford battled throughout the regatta with Harvard, edging the Crimson by 8 points in the end, 188 to 196.

Stanford’s A-Division boat, Romain Screve ‘21 and Sammy Pickell ‘22 edged Yale’s Nicolas Hernandez ‘19 and Catherine Webb ‘22 by 2 points. After a slow start by Screve and Pickell, the tandem won 4 of the final 5 races and totaled 11 points over that span. The effort by Stanford’s A-Division was enough to overcome Hernandez and Webb, who sailed very solidly throughout the regatta, posting only two scores outside the top-8.

Stanford’s B-Division boat, Wiley Rodgers ‘22 and Victoria Thompson ‘21 dominated B-Division, besting Hector Guzman ‘20 and Maya Weber ‘20 of Hobart and William Smith by 20 points in the 11 race series. Rodgers and Thompson finished with 6 bullets and only 2 races outside the top-3! Rodgers is now undefeated in his college sailing career, notably winning A-Division at the Danmark Trophy. Rodgers sailed with Thompson for both division wins.