|Senior Griffin Rolander was one of three Jumbo skippers|
MEDFORD - Sailing at home on Upper Mystic Lake, the Tufts University co-ed sailing team finished second at the New England Team Racing Championships this weekend and earned one of four berths into the national team racing regatta coming up in May.
In three rounds of competition on Saturday and Sunday, the Jumbos compiled a 15-8 record to finish behind only New England Team Racing champion Yale University (18-5). Tufts won a tie-breaker over third-place MIT (15-8), and Boston College (14-9) earned a tie-breaker against Dartmouth for fourth place. The tie-breaker was number of races won when the tied teams met. Both Tufts and BC had 2-1 advantages over their opponents.
In the first round of 11 head-to-head races, Tufts was fourth with an 8-3 record. They had wins over Boston University, Bowdoin, Brown, Connecticut College, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT and Coast Guard. They swept the 1-2-3 finishes against Connecticut College and also had convincing wins over Bowdoin, Harvard and Coast Guard. The three losses were to Boston College, Roger Williams and Yale.
The Jumbos were one of eight teams to advance to the next round, held on Sunday. That's nearly where their run ended, as they won only two of their seven contests. With six teams advancing to the final round, Tufts was the last team to make it. They had posted wins over Harvard and BU in the second round, which ultimately punched their ticket into the finals as those two teams were eliminated. Tufts had lost to Yale, Boston College, Dartmouth, Roger Williams and MIT in the second round.
The hosts turned it around in Sunday's final round, defeating all five of their opponents to finish as the runner-up and earn a national championship berth. They dominated eventual champion Yale with a 1-2-5 finish. They also went 1-3-4 against Roger Williams. Other victories came against MIT, Boston College and Dartmouth. The 5-0 record in the finals gave them their 15-8 overall mark.
The three Jumbo dinghies were skippered by seniors Scott Barbano, Griffin Rolander and Alex Tong. In varying winds during the first round, sophomore Florian Eenkema van Dijk crewed eight of the 11 races with Barbano and sophomore Ian Morgan took the other three. Rolander raced with Morgan as his crew for six first-round races and junior Emily Shanley-Roberts for the other five. Junior Aaron Klein crewed nine of the first-round starts with Tong, while junior Lara Dienemann was on board for two.
In the second and final rounds, the teams of Barbano and Morgan, Rolander and Shanley-Roberts and Tong with Dienemann were paired up for all 12 races.
Tufts made a major leap over last year, when they did not even qualify for the New England Team Racing Championship last season. Now they are headed back to the national championship.
The 2017 Intercollegiate Sailing Association Team Race National Championship will be held at Chicago Yacht Club on May 27-29. Tufts will be one of 16 teams to compete for the national championship.