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Sailing - 30. May 2008.

Eagles Win First Women’s Title in School History

Newport, Rhode Island (May 28, 2008) – Only eight races – four in both A- and B-Divisions – were left to be contested on the third and final day of racing for the 2008 ICSA Women’s National Championship. The dramatic finale of the women’s college sailing year got underway with cooler temperatures and 10-12 knots of breeze coming down Narragansett Bay out of the north courtesy of a front that had passed through the area overnight.


The Brown University (Providence, R.I.) freshman team of skipper Elizabeth Barry (Riverside, Conn.) and crew Maria Mahler-Haug (Branford, Conn.) clearly were comfortable with the new wind direction – they won the first three races of the day to maintain their lead position in B-Division. Sophomore skipper Charlotte Lipshitz (Chevy Chase, Md.) sailing with senior Meris Tombari (Fishers Island, N.Y.) contributed finishes of 5-5-8 in A-Division to move Brown to the top of the overall leader board with 178 points – with a slim two-point advantage heading into the final set of the series.

Boston College (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) came into the final day in second place overall, having made a significant move from seventh on day two. Early on, the Eagles took the overall lead when A-Division junior skipper Leigh Kempton (Island Heights, N.J.) and senior Emily Flint (Longmeadow, Mass.) smoked the competition with three back-to-back decisive wins that saw them cross the finish line almost 10 boat lengths ahead of the fleet in one race. The B-Division team of juniors Martha Pitt (Milton, Mass.) and Lily Beck (Larchmont, N.Y.) were 2-5 before a 16 in the third race threatened to put the brakes on the Eagles hopes of winning the title.

Despite Brown’s stellar first-year B team picking up their fourth straight win in the last race, BC’s B team bounced back from their 16 to finish second in the final race reverse the final order while keeping the two-point spread. Boston College won the championship with 186 combined points to Brown’s 188.

“BC was fast and consistent,” said Brad Dellenbaugh New York Yacht Club’s Sailing Director. “The B-division team bounced back (from race 17), which is really tough to do mentally after a poor finish. It was a great comeback to have that kind of performance (second in the final race).”

After leading the first two days of the championship, Yale University (New Haven, Conn.) finished third overall with 202 points. Junior Jane Macky (Auckland, New Zealand), with sophomore crew Marla Menninger (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Sarah Lihan (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), finished 4-4-4-3 today to take over the top spot in A-Division with 80 points. Unfortunately the B-Division duo of junior Kate Hagemann (Marion, Mass./Naples, Fla.) and freshman Liz Brim (New York, N.Y.) suffered in the latter part of the series, picking up two double-digit finishes in the final two races to drop them to seventh in their division at 122 points.

Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.) was fourth with 206, College of Charleston (Charleston, S.C.) was fifth with 224, and the defending champions from St. Mary’s College (St. Mary’s, Md.) slipped from third place down to sixth with 235. Full results are available, along with photos: www.collegesailing.org/nas/spring08/

The Format: To get to the ICSA Women's National Championship, 18 colleges qualified through performance in their respective conference elimination. Each college 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.

Up Next: After a day off, the ICSA/APS Team Race National Championship will be contested May 30-June 1, followed by the ICSA/Gill National Championship from June 2-4. New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court is the headquarters for both championships and is the host of the racing – sailed in 420s – along with Brown University (Providence, R.I.) and Salve Regina University (Newport, R.I.), with support from Sail Newport

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