Facing stiff competition from some of the top college teams in the nation at the ICSA Western Semifinals, the No. 5 Bulldogs coed sailing team pulled out a first-place finish today by the slimmest of margins: one point. The team’s victory was sealed in the very last race of the day as the Elis beat out No. 1 Boston College.

Both days of racing featured very challenging wind conditions with highly variable shifts and strong current. Joe Morris ’12 and Grace Becton ’09 led the team with a top-notch performance in B division, winning the division by nine points over the Eagles. Thomas Barrows  ’10 and Blair Belling ’11 had a very strong showing in A division, finishing second to Boston College.

Barrows and Belling did not know that the point spread had changed during the time they were on the water for their second-to-last race, launching the Bulldogs into first heading into their last race. They were just racing to hold onto what they thought was a second-place finish. “It came as a bit of a surprise,” Belling said of the win.

The Western Semifinals, held in Boston Harbor and hosted by MIT and Harvard, was one of two national qualifiers for the ICSA/Gill Coed National Championship to be held June 1 to 3 in San Francisco. The Eastern Semifinals were also held this weekend at the same venue, with the top nine teams at each regatta advancing to the national finals in June.

The coed team will now join the No. 1 women’s team in San Francisco as the top qualifiers for their respective national championships, which will take place in late May and early June. The coed team will also look to qualify for the ICSA/APS Team Race Championships to be held May 29 to 31 in San Francisco at the qualifier event this weekend.