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Women's Sailing Wins a Berth at The National Championships

By Kyle Welch
Team Coach

The MIT Women's Varsity Sailing Team finished fifth out of 17 teams in the New England Sailing Championships held at MIT this past weekend, taking the final qualifying spot for this year's National Championships, to be held May 2527 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Sailing in the A division for the Engineers were Jessica Lackey '00 and Anna Michel '98. Having now sailed for just under two years, Lackey is considered one of the top new prospects in women's sailing. She has been consistently beating sailors who have been racing competitively for over 15 years. Michel made the switch from Coed Varsity to the Women's Varsity for her final semester. She was voted as one of the top 10 crews in New England Women's Sailing. Michel's experience and skill complements Lackey's talents well. Together, they make a formidable team.

Jennifer Kelly '99 and Susanna Mierau '00 represented MIT in the B division. Kelly is the Women's team captain and was a solid competitor for both the Coed and Women's team during the entire season. Mierau has been sailing for only eight months, but she has improved her skills at a remarkable rate. She is a solid performer and is predicted to be one of the top crews in the nation during the upcoming seasons.

During the first day of competition, the Engineers were consistently one of the top two teams in the seventeen-boat field, and Kelly and Mierau finished the day in first place in their division. Lackey and Michel were in sixth place in their division, resulting in the team standing second in the overall rankings.

The second day began with some very shifty conditions, and MIT slipped a little in the standings. In the final race, with MIT's qualifying position in jeopardy, Lackey and Michel staged a miraculous comeback at the end of the race to secure fifth place overall and a trip to the National Championships.

This is the first time an MIT team has qualified for the Nationals since 1993, when MIT was represented by a team including Paula Lewin '93, currently the top ranked professional woman sailor in the world and a two-time Olympian.

Pre-regatta favorites Boston College, Harvard (Radcliffe) College, and Tufts University all failed to make the cut and will not be joining the MIT team in New Orleans.