The Yale women’s sailing team qualified for the national championship this weekend, finishing third in the 37th Women’s New England Championship/Reed Trophy at Brown University. Brown, Harvard University, Tufts University and Dartmouth College also qualified.

All five teams are in the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NEISA), and will travel to Detroit, Mich., for the 2003 Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Spring Championships June 1-10.

Molly Carapiet ’06 and Jenn Hoyle ’05 finished fifth in the A division, and Julie Papanek ’05 and Kate Littlefield ’04 finished second in the B division, propelling the Bulldogs into third. Papanek and Littlefield finished in the top three in 10 of the 14 races. Littlefield is the captain of the coed team, and Hoyle leads the women.

Littlefield said poor conditions on the Providence River did little to slow the Elis down.

“It was a pretty interesting and shifty wind direction, so it was definitely a challenging sailing environment,” Littlefield said. “Molly [Carapiet] and Jenn [Hoyle] did really well in A division and I was really impressed with Julie [Papanek] and my performance in B division.”

The good finish, however, is not a radical change in the No. 10 Bulldogs’ fortunes.

“The women have been doing well all year,” Littlefield said. “I have a great deal of faith that the women’s team is one of the top teams in the country and I think our performance reflected our talent.”

Yale finished 17 points behind Harvard, which finished 17 behind first-place Brown, but a disqualification of one of Carapiet and Hoyle’s A-division finishes made Harvard’s margin of victory much greater than it originally had been. Tufts and Dartmouth trailed the Elis by six and 23 points, respectively.

“The girls were on fire, they did really well,” Hoyle said. “Nationals are going to be awesome, so we’re getting psyched for postseason practice, but we’re not done yet. Next weekend we have team racing and then we have coed qualifiers. So it’s one down, two to go.”

Standout freshman Carapiet also said she is looking forward to the June 1 competition.

“I’m really excited that we qualified for nationals,” Carapiet said. “It was a full team effort and hopefully we will do well at nationals.”