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USVI’s Barrows Keeps Yale in The Hunt

While there was only a slight improvement in the air temperature at the 2009 ICSA/GILL National Championship, the competition certainly heated up on day two of racing for this championship title. After eight races were sailed by both A- and B-Division on day one, St. Mary’s College (St. Mary’s, Md.) had ascended to the top of the leader-board with a 27-point cushion over second-placed Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.). Over the course of the six races sailed by each division today, the overall lead made a dizzying swing back and forth between St. Mary’s and Yale University (New Haven, Conn.) before settling back on St. Mary’s.

As both the breeze and current picked up, Yale dominated A-Division under the focus of junior skipper Thomas Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI), as he alternated crew between sophomore Blair Belling (Newport Beach, Calif.) and junior Marla Menninger (Newport Beach, Calif.), to take the top spot in that fleet with a total of 54 points after 14 races. St. Mary’s junior skipper Jesse Kirkland (Warwick, Bermuda), posted his first double-digit finish of the series in the second race of the day, and while rotating crew between sophomores Madeline Jackson (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) and Megan Magill (San Diego, Calif.) and junior Mike Kuschner (San Francisco, Calif.) kept the pressure on Yale to place St. Mary’s second in A-Division with 69 points.

In B-Division, St. Mary’s sophomore skipper Michael Menninger (Newport Beach, Calif.) and junior crew Kelly Wilbur (Ipswich, Mass.) chipped in two bullets today to stand at the top of that fleet on 61 points. Yale’s B-Division freshman skipper Joseph Morris (Annapolis, Md.) sailed with senior Grace Becton (Deer Isle, Maine) and junior Michael Hession (Milton, Mass.) and stands third in B-Division with 83 points.

“This morning was the first time we were able to use our light air crew,” said Yale coach Bill Healy. “And then it cleared up and got breezy so the heavy crew went in. The sailing was fantastic and both divisions performed really well. The current was really difficult and staying in phase with the adverse current at the end of the day was key.”

In the overall standings, St. Mary’s has 130 points to Yale’s 137. The potential spoiler is Georgetown who are currently third overall with 184 points.

“Yale went on a nice run today, and we were able to finish up strong,” said St. Mary’s coach Adam Werblow. “It was close, tough racing. For two days in a row all seven sailors we brought out here have worked really hard to do the best they can. Our strategy for tomorrow is to sail eight great races (four in each division) and hope to land on top.”

Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.) moved up to fourth in the overall standings, on 204 points, while Roger Williams University (Bristol, R.I.) holds onto fifth with 245.

The Format: In the ICSA/Gill National Championship each school fields a separate A and B division team with, weather permitting, each division sailing 20- to 30-minute fleet races in rotation. A team’s final score is determined by the combined results of its sailors in A and B divisions. Stanford University is co-hosting the women’s and coed championships with St. Francis Yacht Club, with racing taking place from the club.

Catch the Replay: Noted sailing commentator Gary Jobson (Annapolis, Md.) will produce a program on the ICSA/Gill National Championship for ESPNU set to air Saturday, June 20 at 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday, July 1 at 3:00 a.m.

About the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association: ICSA is the governing authority for sailing competition at colleges and universities throughout the United States and in some parts of Canada. To learn more please visit: www.collegesailing.org. ICSA is sponsored by Gill, Annapolis Performance Sailing, Marlow Ropes, Quantum Sails, LaserPerformance and US SAILING: www.gillna.com, www.apsltd.com, www.bainbridgeint.com, www.quantumsails.com, www.laserperformance.com and www.ussailing.org

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