SEASON RECAP: Harvard Earns Shot at Nationals

There are some things Harvard students have come to expect in the month of May: improved weather, online TV episodes during reading period, and lots of e-mail spam regarding senior sales. One thing that should be added to this list of May mainstays is the presence of the Harvard sailing team in national championship regattas.

After the women’s squad’s one-year hiatus from the national championship, the Crimson’s co-ed and women’s teams qualified for all three of their national affairs, with the contests taking place in the windy waters of San Francisco, Calif.

“It is our goal to qualify for all three of the national championships every year,” senior skipper Jon Garrity said.

The women’s squad finished its season with a 10th-place effort at the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Women’s National Championship from May 25-27. The co-ed squad competed in the ICSA Team Race National Championship from May 29-31 and the ICSA/Gill National Dinghy Championship from June 1-3.

The women’s squad was led throughout this season by senior skipper Megan Watson, who ended her stellar Harvard career with a selection to the ICSA Women’s All-America team.

“[Watson] was the A-boat skipper for three years and constantly worked to push the team to achieve its best,” junior co-captain Liz Powers said. “We were very happy her consistent effort every weekend was recognized by her earning All-American status, which means she is among the top eight skippers in the country.”

Watson and Powers teamed up in the A division in the national regatta, where they placed 10th in a contest that top-seeded Yale won. Freshman Emily Lambert skippered the B-division boat, with fellow rookie Alexandra Jumper and junior Michelle Konstadt sharing the crewing duties. But neither group could overturn the Bulldogs.

“We were a little disappointed with our 10th place finish,” Powers said. “We lost by just three points earlier this season to Yale at New Englands.”

For its part, the Crimson co-ed squad placed second at the New England Team Race Championships and seventh at the ICSA National Semifinals in early May to earn its two national bids.

Garrity felt that Harvard would be well prepared for the conditions the team would face on the West Coast by changing its practice routine.

“We needed to practice in big breeze, in open water venues, where we have to deal with more waves,” Garrity said.

While the Crimson performed well in the most crucial part of its season in late spring, Harvard also began its year in impressive fashion with nine top-three team finishes from mid-September through mid-November.

Despite the grueling schedule that runs throughout the academic year, Harvard has proven itself well-conditioned to compete on a national scale. The Crimson can expect trips to nationals in the coming years, as most of the team remains intact next season.

“We only lose four girls [and two men] next year,” Powers said. “I am excited to see how our recruits fit in on the team and how well we are able to perform next year.”

—Staff writer Thomas D. Hutchison can be reached at