Women's sailors head to nationals
The Dartmouth women's sailing team is gearing up for the competition of the season -- the National Sailing Competition next Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the University at Wisconsin. The team will compete against the 16 best teams in the nation.
"We have a pretty good shot at it," Coach Brian Doyle said. "We will be sailing in flying juniors which are the types of boats we are sailing. These are the same types that we use at Dartmouth."
As more help for the Big Green, the Dartmouth lake, Lake Mascoma, is very similar to the lake in Wisconsin, Doyle added.
"It is unlike last year which was in open water in California," he said. "We are going to be on a lake. We will have the same shifty winds and flat water as opposed to ocean swells. It will be a lot calmer because wind does not have as far to travel over water."
Dartmouth's two teams consist of A-team skipper Casey Hogan '99 with crew Heather Melanson '97 and B-team skipper Leigh Lucas '98 with Captain Blair Seidler '96 handling crew. The alternate is Amanda Ruscitto '97.
"We have a pretty young team in terms of skippers and a bold and experienced team in terms of crews. The starting team is pretty solid so we don't expect many changes unless we need to," Doyle said.
The team finished third at the New England Championships at Connecticut College earlier in the season to qualify for nationals. The top five teams of the championship qualify to go to nationals.
"We finished behind Tufts and Harvard," Doyle said. "Tufts is ranked number one in the nation. We are third and this was our first loss to Harvard, but we expect to beat them in the finals."
The top sailing teams are number one-ranked Tufts and number two-ranked Navy. Dartmouth is ranked third in the nation with Harvard at fourth.
"We have done pretty well in these events in the past with the women's team in particular," he said.
In 1992, Dartmouth won the nationals. In both 1994 and 1995 the team placed third. The Big Green did not qualify for nationals in 1993.
"The format [for the race] is that each team gets two boats full of people," Doyle explained. "There is one boat for team A and one for team B. There is a minimum of four people [per college]. We have as many subs as we want within each division. However, A and B teams must be separate."
Because the race will take place during finals week, Doyle expressed hope that the students would be able to properly balance their upcoming exams with the important race.
"Academics are top priority here at Dartmouth," he said. "Students that are going are arranging for finals early or late when they get back. In the past, some students have taken their finals on the road and faxed them back or somehow communicated back.
"It is a tricky proposition," Doyle added. "I'm hoping the professors are understanding and cooperative."