It took three tiebreakers on Friday afternoon before Boston College women’s sailing would be crowned as the nation’s champions.
Over 36 races, the Eagles came out on top of an 18-team field at the ICSA Sperry Women’s National Championship in Norfolk, Va. that featured a neck-and-neck battle between themselves and the College of Charleston.
Heading into the final race, BC stood in second place, just four points back from the Cougars. Head coach Greg Wilkinson and his team were definitely feeling the pressure, knowing they were in a position to win the event, but the head coach made certain his final B Division boat—comprised of seniors Sophia Reineke and Lily McGrath, alongside freshman Megan Bamford—would stay calm, cool, and collected.
“I focused on the same stuff we talked about before the first race of the regatta, simply meaning wind conditions, what would work well to make the boat go fast, and how they needed to sail the boat,” Wilkinson said. “That was it. That’s all that remained in their control.”
The Eagles finished in second place in the final race, but still needed help from the Charleston side. After it was all said and done, the Cougar’s sixth place finish meant that both teams were left with a regatta-leading 246 points. The two squads also boasted four first place and two second place finishes, meaning BC’s six third place finishes—compared to just one for Charleston—would be the deciding factor in its third national championship in 10 years.
While the B Division group of Reineke, McGrath, and Bamford—finishing second overall—would eventually push the Eagles to glory, finishing in seventh place in the A Division were juniors Emma Perry and Isabella Loosbrock—the latter of whom was named to the 2018 ICSA All-American Skippers team along with Reineke.
“[Isabella] sailed several races towards the end of the regatta in B Division [in last year’s second place finish],” Wilkinson explained. “And now she’s really stepped up, sailed A Division for us now and she’s had a really amazing, really strong year.”
Going forward the Eagles will have two more opportunities in month of May—the Team Race National Championship and the Co-ed National Championship—to bring more gold back to Chestnut Hill.
Featured Image by Colin Grey Voigt / Intercolligiate Sailing Association