UH co-ed, women’s sailing teams head to New Orleans for National Championships
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Another set of University of Hawaii athletes are vying for national titles as the co-ed and women’s sailing teams are heading to Nationals in New Orleans.
The 2022 ICSA National Championship sets sail this weekend in the Big Easy with the co-ed team already competing down in the waters of lake Pontchartrain and the Wahine in Kaneohe for one last practice before their title run.
The Co-ed team received an at-large bid into the tourney while the Wahine earned an automatic berth into the nationals with a second place finish in their conference championships — marking the 19th appearance in the big dance of sailing for both squads.
For the Wahine, it’s a return to past glory, making it back to the post season for the first time since 2018 and after the pandemic capsized the national races in 2020.
“I’m super stoked that our team has been able to qualify for nationals.” UH sailor Kelsie Grant told reporters. “It’s a huge deal, we haven’t gone in a while, our women’s team is super young and we’ve practiced so hard this year.”
The teams are each a part of a field of 36 fleets split into two heats, competing in a two-day semifinal round with the top nine squads from each heat moving on to the finals.
Besides competing with the other boats, UH will also have to traverse the unfamiliar waters and hot conditions of Louisiana.
“You’re not sailing in the ocean, but the thing about the lake is it’s 20 miles wide and it’s very very shallow.” Head coach Andy Johnson said. “So it’s going to kick up some good chop for sure if it gets windy.”
“I haven’t sailed in a lake before, but out here in the bay this week the winds coming more from the south and it’s shifty which is what the lake is looking like.” Grant said. “So it’s good practice out here.”
On the women’s side, they’re trying to make it into the finals for the first time in a decade and join in on the UH Athletics Department’s recent winning ways.
“It’s really special and I feel like after the Covid we’re all just on this high of wanting to do Well and being able to travel again.” Grant said. “I feel like we have all of this built-up energy and now we’re just utilizing it and doing well this year.”
The co-ed competitions run through may 22nd while the women’s heats begin on the 23rd.
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