May 28, 2008
Newport, R.I.- The Stanford Women's Sailing Team finished up another strong year in which they were consistently ranked in the top three in the country. Racing over three days, the women faced their toughest competition of the year at the eighteen-team Intercollegiate Sailing Association's Women's National Championship. With varying conditions throughout the weekend, the Cardinal women had a chance to display their versatility as a team.
Sailing in a strong southwesterly breeze on Memorial Day, the first day of the event, senior Evan Brown and freshman Hannah Burroughs started in A division with a strong 1-9 set. In B division, the team of junior Taylor Grimes and senior Sarah Schoknecht started out consistently with a 7-5 set.
While the breeze stayed up, conditions where this team has shown it could do well earlier in the season, the Cardinal nonetheless ran into some difficulties around the course. In A division, Brown and Burroughs notched up another first, but also received a DSQ for a complicated foul in the fourth race of the day. The B division team also had some difficulties, not finding their groove again until the sixth and final race of the day with a third place finish. After day 1, the team sat in ninth place overall, not where they wanted to be but also not out of contention with 12 races to go in each division.
Tuesday saw similar breezy southwesterly conditions as Monday, and the Stanford women showed that the practice they had amassed in those conditions had paid off. In the sixteen total races of the day, neither division had a race out of the top ten, and they won four races. Junior Kelly McKenna crewed in A division for the final set of the day, wining both races. After a hard fought day of racing, the team stood in a much improved fifth place overall. With four races to go on the final day, the Cardinal could only focus on continuing to sail strong and hope for the best.
The final day brought a dying northerly breeze for the final four races. Putting up good finishes in all four races proved only enough to move into fourth overall. Brown, Burroughs, and McKenna finished up 3rd in the very deep A division, while Grimes and Schoknecht finished a very respectable 6th place in B division. Sophomore Megan Grove did not get a chance to sail but provided much needed support to her teammates throughout the event.
"I'm extremely proud of how the girls battled back from a DSQ and a capsize to climb back to 4th place in the regatta," commented Coach Kehoe. "That kind of comeback is unheard of and shows the strength of this team."
Capping off a very solid career in women's college sailing, senior Evan Brown was named as a women's All-American skipper for the second consecutive year. She was also named an honorable mention in her sophomore year. Evan, the women's captain this year, was a consistent player in many areas for the Stanford sailing team, and she will be sorely missed.
Graduating only two members of this very strong women's team, the Cardinal is sure to be back next year. They are looking forward to hosting 2009 ICSA Women's and Dinghy Nationals with St. Francis Yacht Club on the city-front of San Francisco.