Photo courtesy of US Sailing Team / Facebook

Three BC Alumni Earn Top American Finishes at Rio Olympics

The Olympic Closing Ceremony is set for Sunday night and BC was once again represented among the competitors reaching for glory in honor of their country. Annie Haeger and teammate Briana Provancha, both class of 2012, competed in the women’s 470 dinghy sailing event, while Joe Maloy ’08 competed in the men’s triathlon.

Haeger and Provancha finished 7th overall in their event, making it to the medal race. Maloy made up time in the last leg of his triathlon to snag 23rd overall with a time of 1:48:30. Both Maloy and the Haeger/Provancha team finished as the top Americans in their respective events.

The sailing duo's chase for gold began last week with ten preliminary races before the medal competition. The BC alumni wavered throughout the prelims but held on to top ten berths. The goal is to achieve the lowest score, so Great Britain claimed the gold with a milestone total of 44 points. Haeger and Provancha (69 points) finished just seven points shy of a bronze medal and fewer than six points behind the next three finishers.

Haeger and Provancha’s experience together on the water extends nearly a decade. The two both claim to have sailing in their blood; they first tested the waters at the age of eight. “I dream about sailing almost every night,” Haeger said in a pre-Olympic video.

The duo had been familiar with the world stage long before Rio. They competed in the Youth World Championships throughout high school and met when they both medaled during Youth Worlds in 2007, even before matriculating to BC. Provancha recalls that “standing on that podium that night in Canada was when my Olympic dream came alive.”

While at BC, both girls took turns receiving All-American accolades as they led the Eagles to the coveted Fowle Trophy on multiple occasions, which is awarded to the best team in the nation. Haeger had yet to try out the 470 until Provancha introduced her to the event during her junior year on the Heights. The teammates trained sporadically in their remaining time at BC, but upon graduation, they set their singular focus on training for the Olympics.  In late Spring, they realized their dream and solidified their opening debut as the top American finishers in the 470 dinghy.

Photo Courtesy of Olympic / Facebook

Photo Courtesy of Olympic / Facebook

Maloy finished the men’s triathlon in the middle of the pack on Thursday, taking down multiple competitors in the final stretch. The triathlete endured a one-mile swim, 27-mile cycle turn, and a six-mile run.  At the end of the cycling, Maloy was in 40th place, but he made up considerable ground in the six mile run, vaulting up 17 spots as he finished as the top American. Great Britain took home gold and silver, crossing the finish line at 1:45:01, but the gap between Maloy and the next ten runners ahead of him spanned less than 50 seconds.

“I was really proud of the way I ran. I didn’t give up; I didn’t quit,” Maloy stated after accomplishing the feat. “You can never quit. You have to keep fighting and keep persevering.... That’s what the triathlon is all about.”

The pride Maloy shone in his post-triathlon interview is reflective of the determination he has possessed since an early age. In the first grade, Maloy claimed to have written in a journal entry that he intended to be an Olympian.

In high school, Maloy was a standout swimmer and runner. During his tenure at BC, he developed into a long distance swimmer before becoming an assistant coach on the swim team upon graduating. In 2010, Maloy left his job in pursuit of making the 2016 Olympic team. He never looked back.

“I look at [the triathlon] as a race of attrition and that’s going to work in my favor.” Maloy took the jump and despite not winning a medal, still reaped a major reward. 

Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics.