WOMEN'S ATLANTIC COAST CHAMPIONS

WOMEN'S ATLANTIC COAST CHAMPIONS

CHARLESTON, S.C.—The women's sailing team won the Women's Atlantic Coast Championship hosted by the College of Charleston for the first time in program history. The Bears won both divisions at the fall's culminating event on their way to a 37 point lead over second place Boston College.

Eighteen teams from the three most competitive conferences in the country, NEISA, MAISA, and SAISA, were in attendance for the 2016 Women's Atlantic Coast Championship, after having qualified out of their respective fall conference championships. The Bears, who failed to qualify for the 2015 championship, entered as one of this year's favorites, but would have their work cut out for them with so many capable teams vying for the title.

Saturday brought tough conditions on the Cooper River. A shifty northeasterly breeze favored consistency and punished small mistakes, something the Bears were able to capitalize on early in the event. Coast Guard jumped out to an early lead after four races in each division, but only one point ahead of both Boston College Eagles and the University of Rhode Island Rams. A string of close races saw multiple lead changes between several teams as the afternoon wore on. Late in the day, however, the Bears were able to regain control of the top position with a fifteen-point gap between them and the College of Charleston Cougars going into day two.

The final day of competition featured wind gusting above 20 knots, heavy rain, and a strong current across the racecourse. Coast Guard's strength and stamina proved to be better than the rest of the field as they slowly built upon their already impressive lead. In B-Division, Dana Rohde, Hannah Herring, and Emily Wright put up only 19 points during eight races – never finishing outside of the top-7 – helping to seal the victory for the Bears.

"We were the better team today," commented assistant coach Chris Klevan. "Our athlete's ability to put together multiple quality races in extremely difficult conditions was fun to watch and is a testament to how hard we have been working back at home."

Nikole Barnes, Anna Morin, and Madelynn Widmeier won A-Division with 88 points. They finished within the top-6 in all but three of the eighteen races. In B-Division, Rohde, Herring, and Widmeier won with 91 points. They surged from behind after day one to win their division by seventeen points.

The Bears combined for 179 points to become the first Women's Atlantic Coast Champions in Coast Guard history. Boston College finished second with 216 points and the University of Rhode Island finished third with 239 points.

With the win, the Bears wrap up their fall season on a high. They now transition to their winter dry-land training regimen during which they will look to improve their physical and mental strength before hitting the water again in March.