April 22, 2014
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown women's sailing team won the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (MAISA) Spring Conference Championships last weekend to qualify for the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Women's National Championship. Following a difficult fall and early spring season that saw the team fall out of the national for the first time in many years, the Blue & Gray launched an impressive turnaround to capture the conference championship and qualify for nationals.
The MAISA women's championship features the top 14 schools in MAISA with the top six qualifying for the national championship. The US Naval Academy, tabbed No. 4 in the country, was heavily favored to win the event. The last five spots would be up for grabs among St. Mary's, Hobart, Old Dominion, George Washington, Hampton, Cornell, Fordham and Georgetown.
The weather Saturday was perfect on Cayuga Lake. Winds were NNW at 10-15mph with some higher gusts. A decent wave pattern made for surfing conditions on the run legs. From the start of race one the Hoyas became the team to beat. In the A division Mary Kate Mezzetti (Hyannis, Mass./Barnstable) skippered with Amanda Taselaar (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale) crewing. This was a new combination featuring GU's two starting skippers sailing together. Despite having limited time in the boat together, Mezzetti and Taselaar sailed with great chemistry.
They started the regatta with a 2,2,1,1 to stake the Hoyas to an early lead. After a set of 14, 9 a switch was made in the A division. Taselaar skippered with senior Merritt Moran (Rochester, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland High School) as crew. That duo scored a 7,2 to end the day which gave the Hoyas a decent lead over Navy. On Sunday, Mezsetti and Taselaar started again and had four good races to end the event in third overall, just six points out of second place.
The real surprise of the regatta was the Georgetown B division boat of Katia DaSilva (East Greenwich, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey) and Bettina Redway (Providence, R.I./St. George's). DaSilva and Redway are the starting crews for the coed team and had never raced together in a regatta. Easily the fastest boat on the water, the duo won five of the first eight races. When the breeze picked up a bit Madeline Higgins (Short Hills, N.J./Pingry) subbed in for Redway and scored a 1,3 to end the day. By the end of the 14-race regatta DaSilva, Redway and Higgins had opened up a 40-point lead in the B division. The Hoyas beat Navy by 11 points to claim the overall win.
The conference championship win comes after a difficult fall for the Hoyas. Though they started the fall season ranked No. 8 in the country and were returning a group of seniors who had been starters since their sophomore year, the first week of practice saw Nancy Hagood (Charleston, S.C./Ashley Hall), the sole All-American on the team, go out for the year with a concussion. This forced a reshuffling of roles resulting in some growing pains as athletes adjusted to their new position. Despite a second-place finish at the fall conference championship, the Hoyas failed to earn a national ranking due to streaky performances during the remainder of the fall season. GU started off the spring season with a few good regattas that brought them back into the national rankings but they were still far off the pace of the nationally-elite teams.
The Hoyas qualified for the ICSA Women's National Championships May 27-30 at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
MAISA Spring Women's Conference Championship at Cornell
A Division: 3rd (69 points), MaryKate Mezzetti, Amanda Taselaar / Amanda Taselaar, Merrit Moran
B Division: first (31 points), Katia DaSilva / Bettina Redway, Madeline Higgins
Overall Results (Top 5)
1. Georgetown (100) 2. Navy (111) 3. Old Dominion (142) 4. Cornell (167) 5. Hobart (170)