SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Competing in its second ICSA/Sperry Women's National Championship in three years, the MIT women's sailing team claimed ninth in the standings in the two-day Eastern Semifinal that concluded on Wednesday. The Engineers finished 49 points ahead of the University of South Florida to secure the last spot in the finals that kick off on Thursday morning at the San Diego Yacht Club.
In the 18-team field, MIT needed to finish among the top nine to advance to the championship rounds. Following the first day of competition, the Engineers were eighth in their semifinal group as the A Division completed eight races while the B Division went through six rotations. The A Division pair of seniors Robyn Lesh (Everson, Wash.) and Lisa Sukharev-Chuyan (Temple, N.H.) stood sixth after cracking the top 10 on seven occasions, highlighted by a runner-up finish in the fifth round. Freshman Ann Hughes (Guilford, Conn.) teamed up with Elizabeth Zhang (Lexington, Mass.) in the B Division where they finished 10th. Placements of third in the second race and then fifth and sixth in their last two outings helped them move up the standings.
On day two, Lesh, Sukharev-Chuyan, and Zhang collaborated for five top-10 appearances in five races to help the Engineers stay in sixth place in the A Division. Lesh and Sukharev-Chuyan were the runners up in the 10th round while Zhang was the crew in the 11th and 13th rotations that yielded fifth-place finishes with Lesh at the helm. In the B Division, Hughes and Zhang picked up right from where they left off as they ranked fourth, third, and ninth in rounds seven through nine to maintain 10th place in the standings.
Racing resumes at 10:30 a.m. local time with video footage available during the finals, including highlights and updates. Follow the action by visiting 2016nationals.collegesailing.org.