LONG BEACH, Calif. - The third-ranked College of Charleston sailing team placed fourth in the Eastern division of the ICSA National Semifinals hosted by USC this past weekend at the U.S. Sailing Center.
With temperatures in the high 70s, the close racing continued and challenged sailors as the day began with the Southern California Santa Ana winds fighting the sea breeze. Twelve races total were completed on trapezoid courses in both divisions.
In the Eastern Semifinals, the Cougars finished fourth with 139 points behind first-place Georgetown (99), second-place Harvard (104) and third-place U.S. Naval Academy (126). Senior skipper Jackson Benvenutti (Bay Saint Louis, Miss.) and junior crew Alyssa Aitken (Sandwich, Mass.) were fifth in the A-Division race with 79 points and sophomore skipper Mac Mace (Newport Beach, Calif.) and junior crew Perry Emsiek (Corona del Mar, Calif.) first in the B-Division with 60 points.
"We were only 10 points out of the lead after making a few critical errors early on Saturday," CofC head coach Ward Cromwell said. "We were rallying after a very long day and excited to compete on Sunday. The off-shore wind was really tricky on Sunday morning. We made a couple of mistakes early and fell a little short of our goal. We are very excited to have qualified for the ICSA Gill/Coed National Championships in The Gorge later this month. Our team is sailing well and we certainly have the boat speed fishes on top - it's just a matter of having a little better execution."
CofC qualified for the ICSA Women's National Championships on May 23-26, the ICSA Team Race National Championship on May 27-29 and the ICSA/Gill Dinghy National Championships on May 30-June 1 which will be held at The Gorge in Cascade Locks, Ore., located 45 minutes east of Portland on the Hood River. The event website can be viewed at: http://2011nationals.collegesailing.info
The Cougars will focus on final exams this week and then have three weeks to prepare for the 2011 College Sailing Nationals hosted by the NWISCSA and the Columbia Gorge Racing Association (CGRA).
"It was great to watch the scores this past weekend and see the SAISA teams represent our conference well," CofC assistant coach Nick Ewenson said. "All five teams sailed well and to have four teams qualify for co-ed finals is a testament to the strength of our conference."
Four graduating seniors will also participate in The College's May Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 7, on the Cistern Yard including Jackson Benvenutti with a bachelor's degree in political science, Cole Allsopp (Annapolis, Md.) in business administration, Kip Watson (Duxbury, Mass.) in political science and Cristy Jamison (Rye, N.Y.) in communication.
2011 ICSA NATIONAL SEMIFINALS
April 30-May 1, 2011
U.S. Sailing Center
at Long Beach, Calif.
1. Georgetown University
2. Harvard University
3. U.S. Naval Academy
4. College of Charleston
5. Stanford University
6. Brown University
7. Tufts University
8. Connecticut College
9. Old Dominion University
1. Boston College
2. Yale University
3. Roger Williams University
4. South Florida University
5. St. Mary's College of Maryland
6. University of Miami
7. Hobart and William Smith College
9. University of Rhode Island