Jumbos gearing up for ICSA Championships

Rising senior Molly Pleskus and rising junior Sabrina Van Mell sail in a regatta hosted by Boston University on Easter Sunday, April 16. Ray Bernoff / The Tufts Daily

Tufts sailing had an up-and-down year throughout the fall and the spring seasons. Both the women’s and co-ed teams still have the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Championships to come, events for which they’ve been preparing since the end of the regular season in April.

For the co-ed sailors, the team’s fall season culminated in a win at the New England Men’s Single-handed Championship as graduating seniors Alp Rodopman and James Beatty finished in first and ninth, respectively. Rising junior Jack Bitney also raced for the Jumbos, finishing 17th.

The women’s team was a consistent force and finished in the top half of five of the eight scored team regattas in which Tufts participated. But the team really hit its stride in the spring and put up consistently strong finishes, most notably at the President’s Trophy Regatta hosted by Boston University. After finishing day one in fourth place, Tufts battled through a windy day two to win the event with 80 points, 18 less than second-place University of Rhode Island.

With the majority of the women’s schedule finished in April, there is only one event left for the team, held Tuesday through Thursday at the ICSA National Championship.

The co-ed squad had an equally successful spring semester, as the Jumbos claimed trophies at Northeastern’s Oberg Trophy Regatta and the Admiral’s Cup Regatta at Kings Point. These wins came just weeks after the Jumbos finished second of 12 teams at the New England Team Racing Championships.

“I attribute the success to our assistant coach, Rachel Silverstein,” graduating senior Griffin Rolander said. “She taught us how to get the deck sweeper well positioned and develop the wind in front of us.”

In addition to the ICSA Team Racing Championships Saturday through Monday, the team will also participate in the ICSA National Dinghy Championship to end the season.

“[We’ve been] lifting a bunch, and trying to get as big and cut as possible to intimidate the competition and handle the big breeze,” Rolander said.

Senior tri-captain Julia Fuller attributed the teams’ success this season to a variety of factors.

“I think that we rose to the challenge [this season],” Fuller said. “We qualified for women’s, co-ed fleet race and co-ed team race and both our women’s team and co-ed team are nationally ranked again. I think that a combination of luck, good team chemistry and really hard work paid off for a successful season.”

Fuller is one of 12 seniors graduating this year from both teams, and noted that qualifying for Nationals was a big goal for the Jumbos.

“My proudest moment this year was qualifying for women’s nationals,” Fuller said. “It was really satisfying to have hard work pay off and to perform in a high pressure environment.”