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1 June 2001, 08:12 am
University of Hawaii Wins
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ICSA Women's North American Championships

The University of Hawaii Rainbows finished the final day of the 2001 Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association North American Women's Championship in first place with 185 points.
Racing was close throughout the series and into the final race. With all 18 B-division races completed and 17 A-division races finished, Hawaii held a 10-point lead over St. Mary's. Hawaii's lead looked insecure as they were over the starting line when the gun went off and had to return. St. Mary's took off and didn't look back, rounding the windward mark in the lead. However, the Rainbows battled back, rounding the first mark in sixth place. After an unfortunate foul against Boston University, St. Mary's was forced to complete a 720-degree turn. During the penalty spins, the Seahawks' boat swamped and took on water, slowing their progress. Despite keeping a positive attitude, St. Mary's finished the race in sixteenth place. Hawaii demonstrated their ability to overcome a rough start, finishing the race in fifth place and winning their first ICSA North American Women's Championship.

The University of Hawaii was comfortable sailing in the strong winds that were prevalent throughout the regatta. Head Coach Andy Johnson attributed their success to "experience with [A-division skipper] Molly O'Bryan (Class of 2002, San Diego, Calif.) and youthful energy in the B-division with Marin Diskant (2004, Santa Barbara, Calif.) and all of our crews." O'Bryan sailed with two different crews: sophomore Sarah Hitchcock (Dartmouth, Mass.) and freshman Renee DeCurtis (Redondo Beach, Calif.). The A-boat won their division with 78 points. The Rainbows' B-division had 107 points; fourth place in the division but good enough for the overall title. Diskant and junior crew Melody Torres (Bakersfield, Calif.) sailed all races except one, where freshman Jennifer Warnock (San Diego, Calif.) skippered, with DeCurtis crewing. The entire Rainbows' Women sailing team will be back next year to defend their title in home waters, as Hawaii is scheduled to host the 2002 ICSA North Americans.

Defending champion Dartmouth College's 200-point total was good enough for second place overall. The Big Green's Assistant Coach Brian Stanford summed up the team's performance by saying, "we had lots of ups and downs and we tried to deal with adversity as best we could." The A-division team of seniors Erin Maxwell (Stonington, Conn.) and Leslie Sandberg (Colchester, Conn.) had 103 points, tying for fourth in division. Sandberg found success by "being able to keep our heads out of the boat even when struggling to keep the boat upright." Dartmouth's B-division, consisting of junior skipper Jen Morgan (Shoreline, Wash.) and junior crew Esther Freeman (Newton, Mass.) had 97 points, placing third in B. Morgan was thankful for "having a deep team with great practices every day."

Finishing third overall was St. Mary's College of Maryland. The Seahawks prepared for North Americans by "sailing in as many Lark regattas as we could," according to Assistant Coach Geoff Becker. The A-division team of sophomore skipper Ali Sharp (Gaitlinburg, Tenn.) and junior crew Mikaela King (Saunderstown, R.I.) had 126 points, including one first-place finish. Freshman Melissa Deveney (Frederick, Md.) crewed for Sharp in five races. The Seahawks won the B-division with 80 points thanks to consistent performance from sophomore skipper Jamie Smith (West River, Md.) and freshman crew Jen Vandermoer (Centerville, Md.). Sharp remarked of champion Hawaii, "they sailed a great regatta. I don't think we could've battled back."

The three-day event was co-hosted by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the Charles River in Cambridge, MA. Harvard representatives Mike O'Connor and Bern Noack, and MIT's Fran Charles and Mike Kalin organized the event. Winds throughout the regatta were shifty, ranging from 5-18 knots. For the first nine of eighteen races, the A-division sailed Johnson FJs, while the B-division sailed Parker Larks. After nine races, the divisions switched fleets.
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