MEDFORD - Led by a victory in the A division, the Tufts University co-ed sailing team finished third in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Western Semifinal on Wednesday to earn a berth into the ICSA National Championship which starts Thursday.
Tuesday and Wednesday (May 30-31) on the Cooper River in Charleston Harbor 36 collegiate co-ed sailing teams from across the nation competed to determine the top 18 teams who would advance to the finals. The 36 teams were divided into two fleets of 18 teams, Eastern and Western Semifinal groups, with the top nine from each fleet making up the 18 teams who will compete in the final championship.
Light wind limited the semifinals to 11 races in the two divisions. The Jumbos compiled finishes totaling to 52 in A's and 84 in B's for a 136 total that put them third. Scoring was tight at the top as the Jumbos were just one point behind second-place Yale, who finished at 134. Tufts was also just one point in front of fourth-place Boston College, who totaled a 137 score. Navy won the Western Semifinal with a 64-51-115 scoring line.
Tufts was first in the A division with their 52 total, three ahead of Boston College's second-place A team (55). Jumbo senior skipper Griffin Rolander worked with junior crew Emily Shanley-Roberts for all 11 races. They won the first, fifth and ninth races and were the runner-up in the seventh and eighth starts.
The Jumbos were ninth in B division, where senior Scott Barbano skippered the first through 10th races and senior Alex Tong took over for the 11th start. Sophomore Ian Morgan crewed with Barbano and classmate Florian Eenkema van Dijk sailed with Tong. The B's had a trio of fourth-place finishes as ther bests in the fourth, eighth and ninth contests.
Joining Tufts, Navy, Yale and Boston College from the Western Semifinal at the ICSA Nationals will be Coast Guard, Brown, Georgetown, South Florida, and UC Santa Barbara. From the Eastern Semifinal, first-place College of Charleston along with George Washington, Hobart and William Smith, US Merchant Marine Academy, Stanford, Fordham, Roger Williams, Hampton and Boston University advanced to the national final.
The Jumbos qualified for the final this season after missing out last year. The team was ninth overall at the national championship regatta in 2015. The ninth-place team finish was the second straight in the national top 10 for head coach Ken Legler's Tufts Co-ed team at the Dinghy Nationals. The Jumbos were fifth in 2014. Tufts has won five Dinghy national titles overall (2001, 1997, 1980-81, 1976).
The 2017 ICSA National Championship begins on Thursday at 10 a.m. and continues on Friday.