Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, May 30, 2002


Hawaii's Molly O'Bryan and Sarah Hitchcock, in boat No. 2, won this A Division race in the national championships yesterday.

Wahine in second
after first day

The host team moves up the standings
at the college sailing championships

By Grace Wen

Paradise or the twilight zone?

How about both.

Marjorie Affel of the Tufts University sailing team loves being in Hawaii for the 2002 Intercollegiate Sailing Association women's championships. But Keehi Lagoon is nothing like Mystic Lake in Medford, Mass., where the Jumbos train.

Affel skipped a sailing season and studied abroad last year just to have the opportunity to come to Oahu this season. She said the swimmers and the green water at Keehi Lagoon provide a much different atmosphere than any of the previous regatta sites.

"Obviously it's a lot hotter. The water at home is never, never this warm," Affel said. "Even when it gets hot out, I'm use to cold water. I'm use to wearing a lot more layers. It's a lot different.

"We're really psyched to be here. We worked really hard to be here. The location is definitely new, but we've sailed against a lot of these teams before. The competition is good, so it's definitely fun to be sailing against them."

Old Dominion leads Hawaii by nine points after 12 races in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association women's championships.

A smattering of clouds dotted the sky and light, shifting winds created interesting conditions for the first day of races. A few boats capsized, while others managed to catch a lucky breeze on the triangular course.

Most teams enjoyed the warm weather and the conditions, though there was only one team that truly felt at home.

"It's fantastic," Hawaii coach Andy Johnson said. "There was steady wind and easy race management. This is great, but (the wind) is getting lighter."

Johnson was also delighted with Hawaii's results. The ninth-ranked Rainbow Wahine are exactly where they want to be after the first day.

Through 12 races (six each in the A and B divisions), Hawaii is in second place with 54 points and trailing Old Dominion by nine points. St. Mary's notched the third lowest score of the day. Yale, which held the top spot much of the day, dropped to fourth with 64 points. Charleston College is a distant fifth with 81 points.

The Wahine achieved their goal of scoring in single digits for every race. Hawaii held the No. 4 spot through the fourth race in both divisions, but two first-place finishes by Molly O'Bryan and Sarah Hitchcock bumped Hawaii up to third.

"The last race was a little weird," O'Bryan said. "It was about patience, just sitting there and waiting to see what was going to happen.

"I was going to pull a bonehead move and (Hitchcock) stopped me. I was going to go away from all the wind and she stopped me. We stayed and it was brilliant."

The All-American team captured the fifth race by a narrow margin and easily glided to the victory in their final race of the day. O'Bryan and Hitchcock topped the A division, while the B division team of Renee Decurtis, Melody Torres, Jennifer Warnock and Lindsey Peters posted a fourth-place showing. Yale's B division team finished in double digits in the last two races to push the Wahine up to second.

Races continue today at 9:45 a.m. and conclude tomorrow.

Note: The regatta is comprised of 18 races in each of the A and B divisions. Points earned by each team correspond to their finish in the race. The team with the lowest score after all the races wins the championship.

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