June 5, 2010

Three Bulldogs Named All-American Crews

MADISON, Wisc.— While the National Championships did not go the way the Bulldogs had hoped, they did prove their prowess with the end of the season awards they garnered. At the end of Women's Nationals the All-American female skippers (including Sarah Lihan '10) were named but the crews had to wait for the completion of the Co-ed champions. It was certainly worth the wait as Marla Menninger '10 received her third All-American nod while juniors Elizabeth Brim and Blair Belling became first-time All-Americans.

Menninger capped off a fabulous collegiate sailing career with yet another All-American nod. After sailing with Jane Macky '09 on the women's circuit the last two years, Menninger returned to the co-ed circuit as a crew for sophomore Joseph Morris. She earned her fourth First Team Crew New England selection and was a huge part of the co-ed team that captured the Western Semifinals in Seattle, Wash. as well as a third place finish at the New England Team Race Championship. This year was also a successful one away from the collegiate sailing circuit as she was a part of Team Extreme, which won the US Team Racing Hinman Trophy in the fall. Menninger will be sorely missed next season as she has spent four years impressing all with her crewing talents as well as her strong leadership.

After two years of sailing with Kate Hagemann '09, Brim switched to sailing with Sarah Lihan '10. While she changed skippers the results were the same as she had an extremely successful season with Lihan leading the team to a win at the Navy Fall Women's Intersectional, the Yale Women's Intersectional and the Duplin Trophy. They won NEISA Women's Sailors of the Week three times and stepped up to play a significant role on the team racing team. She earned her third First Team Crew New England and was finally awarded the national recognition that many thought she deserved prior to this year. The Bulldogs are extremely excited to have Brim back for the 2010-2011 season.

Belling will also be an integral member of next years team. Named captain in January, she will continue to hold that role throughout the fall. For the past two seasons, Belling has sailed with Thomas Barrows '10, a four-time All-American. She helped bring home the win in A Division at last year's nationals. This year Belling was an important member in the team that won the Western Semifinals as well as third place at the New England Team Race Championship. She was also named to the First Team Crew New England for the first time. Due to her petite stature, Belling was extremely vital in Wisconsin's light breeze. Belling, like Brim, has also deserved the honor prior to this year making this particularly special.

The Intercollegiate Sailing Association pulls together a committee of two coaches from each region to decide which skippers and crews will be All-Americans. The guidelines state that the committee is only allowed to name twenty crews from all of college sailing (co-ed and women) as All-Americans. It is an incredible feat for Yale to have three crews be a part of that maximum of twenty. Despite a frustrating end to the season, the Bulldogs can celebrate all of the honors that have been bestowed on the team this year.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity