CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Steph Tong '12 (Hong Kong) was selected to the Inter-collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Crew All-America Team this past weekend. She is the sixth MIT sailor to receive this award since it was established in 1983 and the first since Madhulika Jain '00 in 2000. In addition, Tong earned the program's 20th overall All-America honor, seven years after skipper JM Modisette '05 was named All-America honorable mention.
"This is so completely unexpected, and I'm still in disbelief," said Tong. "But most of all, I'm incredibly grateful to everyone - I have learnt and grown so much in the past four years because of my coaches and teammates. This honor is truly a shared recognition, especially with rising-senior Andrew Sommer (Duxbury, Mass.), my amazing skipper, who always helped to bring out the best in me."
A co-captain for the coed team, Tong was the top crew on the squad who became a regular participant in the A Division beginning in the fall championship season and continued throughout the spring. Last month she was recognized by the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association with a selection to the All-New England crew first team. With Sommer, the duo competed in 14 events and finished in the top 10 on 11 occasions.
"Steph had limited racing experience before she came to MIT but set herself apart through dedicating herself not just to her own individual success but prioritizing the success of the team," commented co-head coach Matt Lindblad. "As a captain, she was a motivating force while still remaining reachable and available for everyone from the least experienced freshman to the seasoned seniors."
Criteria for All-America status includes: demonstrated leadership (may consider seniority), outstanding body mechanics and boat handling skills as well as proven ability to improve the results of the skipper(s) with whom he or she sails. The nomination pool is incredibly competitive as for every highly successful skipper there are usually two crews with great results (one crew for lighter winds and one for heavier winds). In addition, there is no distinction between women's and coed results as well as a differentiation among NCAA Division I, II, and III teams.