ODU to Host ICSA Women's National Championship
By ODU Athletics
May 16, 2007
NORFOLK, VA - Old Dominion University will play host to the 2007 Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Women's National Championship sponsored by Vanguard and Pentax on May 23-25. It is the fourth time ODU has hosted a national championship in sailing and the first time since 1985 that the Women's Championship will be held at Old Dominion. The event will be held on the Elizabeth River directly off the coast of the Norfolk campus waterfront and boasts the 18 top women's sailing teams from seven districts across the nation. The championship is an open event and spectators can watch all the action from the ODU Sailing Center on campus.
The sailors will use ODU's fleet of Flying Juniors (FJ's) for racing, as sailing will begin at noon on Wednesday, May 23 with 18 races to be held in three days. The awards ceremony will be held Friday evening immediately following the conclusion of racing.
Thirteen of the nation's top fifteen teams ranked by SailingWorld will be in attendance including top ranked St. Mary's College. St. Mary's has held the number one slot in the SailingWorld Rankings in all but one of the polls this spring and comes in as the winner of the MAISA district. Head coach Adam Werblow will send experienced junior skipper Adrienne Patterson (Newport Beach, CA) to the water in A division accompanied by senior crew Melissa Pumphrey (Annapolis, MD). Both were a part of the St. Mary's team that finished third last year.
Four others from the MAISA qualified including #4 Navy, #7 Georgetown, #14 William Smith, and #15 Old Dominion. Georgetown finished second overall last season and coach Michael Callahan has several upperclassmen, but just one sailor who sailed in last year's championship. Navy, William Smith, and Old Dominion all have had impressive seasons to this point and will look to make a run at the title.
The host team, Old Dominion, will start a senior skipper Cara DiSanti (Seacliff, NY) and experienced sophomore crew Alissa Ayres (Trenton, NJ) in A division while asking freshman Katrina Williams (Pembroke, Bermuda) to skipper a combination of sophomore Elyssa Albert (Lovettsville, VA) and freshman Jane Bleakney (Silverton, OR) in B division. DiSanti and Williams both qualified for the fall singlehanded national championship and will try to bring the Monarchs their 16th national title.
Also qualifying for the championship is last year's victor, the College of Charleston. It was the first time since 1986 that the host team won the women's championship. The team is ranked number two in the nation currently as head coach and ODU alum Ward Cromwell, returning sophomore skipper Andrea Savage (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI) and junior crew Danielle Neri (Newport, RI) are poised to repeat this year. Charleston won the SAISA District title and also qualifying for the championship from the South Atlantic district is coach Allison Jolly's University of South Florida team.
The NEISA district qualifies five teams, like the MAISA, and includes district champion and fifth ranked Tufts University, led by a team of strictly juniors and seniors. Head coach Ken Legler did not graduate any of his 11th place team from last year and the experienced juniors Kaity Storck (Huntington, NY) and Lindsey Gibbons-Neff (Rosemont, PA) should make the Jumbos a terrific A division competitor. The B division boat also returns both senior skipper Gretchen Curtis (Marblehead, MA), senior crew Jenn Guiroux (Portsmouth, NH) and reserves Emily Randall (Hingham, MA) and Emma Creighton (Damariscota, ME).
Other teams that qualified out of the NEISA district include #6 Boston College, #9 Harvard, #10 Dartmouth, and #12 Boston University. All are very experienced teams with just one freshman starting between them.
Two California-based teams certainly have a shot at winning the coveted Gerald C. Miller Trophy. The UC-Irvine Anteaters are currently ranked 11th in the nation as they came out winners of the PCCSC district under head coach Mike Pinckney. Sophomore Ashley Simpson (Belmont, CA) will be the A division skipper for the Anteaters. Also, #3 Stanford shouldn't be sneaking up on anybody as they qualify with returning skippers Evan Brown (Tampa, FL) and Taylor Grimes (Newport Beach, CA). Coach Jay Kehoe's team is will return four sailors from last years fourth place team including Grimes, the top skipper in B division a year ago.
Rounding out the competition will be the Wolverines of Michigan and the Badgers of Wisconsin representing the MCSA district on the water and the University of Texas will sail for the SEISA. Also coming to Virginia will be the University of Washington as a representative of the NWICSA district. All four teams qualified a year ago, but will try to improve as they finished in the bottom four at the championship.
For more information regarding the 2007 ICSA Women's National Championship sponsored by Vanguard and Pentax, please see the Official Site of the Championship: http://www.collegesailing.org/nas/spring07/womens/Main.htm.