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SAILING: BC Sailors Make U.S. Team

Heights Editor

Published: Monday, February 11, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 01:02

At first glance, Erika Reineke seems like quite the underdog. She’s a freshman. She lives on Newton Campus. She has just half a season of collegiate sailing at Boston College under her belt.

Despite all this, nobody doubts her. This past fall, Reineke won the single-handed collegiate national championship. Her next goal was simple: make the U.S. national sailing team.

Last week, along with past Eagles’ Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha, both BC ‘12, Reineke competed in Miami at North America’s only regatta for the International Sailing Federation’s World Cup. There were 300 sailors from 35 countries. The regatta is the only one of its kind to include such a variety and talented group of sailors, and as a result  the top two American boats in each class qualified for the team that will compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Haeger and Provancha participated in the two-person 470 in Miami. The two had a historic career on the Heights capturing multiple national titles. They finished in fifth place despite missing the last race after Haeger dislocated her kneecap. Haeger will be forced to rehab during the spring with the hope of returning for the U.S. team’s tour of Europe in the summer. The pair was very consistent during the regatta, usually finishing in the top 10 boats. They were the top American boat in the two-person 470.

Reineke appreciated their presence at the event. “They’re great. They’re always there to help me. We meet up and go to dinner. That’s one thing that’s always great about BC’s alumni. They’ve just been really supportive of me, helping me with whatever I need,” said Reineke, who raced in the laser radial, the women’s singlehanded boat.

Reineke continued to demonstrate her skill on the international stage, finishing in sixth place overall with the second-best American performance in her class to earn a spot on the team. Reineke had won the 2012 collegiate women’s singlehanded national championship in the same boat just three months earlier.

“Honestly, I was more nervous about this (compared to the national championship),” she said. “It was a determinate whether I was going to get funding or not. Also, I wanted to be a part of the U.S. national team.”

Reineke’s funding allows her to continue to compete on the biggest of stages with the best resources.

Despite being the top collegiate sailor in America this past year, the pressure was hardly alleviated. “I’ve been training a lot for the event, that was always a confidence builder, but as soon as you get there its like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s here I have to perform,’” Reineke said.

In her biggest national event thus far, Reineke said one of her greatest difficulties was “constantly having the pressure of having to make the team. That was something I always thought, which I wish I didn’t because it kind of messed me up.”

The conditions of the event combined with her own nerves hindered Reineke’s performance.

“I’ve never been that great in the breeze and this was a breezy event,” she said. “I still obviously have a lot of work to do, sixth place wasn’t as great as I hoped. I need to get stronger which I can definitely do. It was kind of an eye opener. Kind of just saw where I was at and now I need to build up from that.”

Reineke’s strengths lie in her desire to keep moving forward. The sailing program at BC will be a huge part of that, as she prepares the next four years for Rio de Janeiro.

“I have gotten stronger in the boat by training here at BC,” she said. “I don’t have any doubts about the athletic program or the gym. I’m here and they’re working with me as best I can..”

As Reineke looks forward to the team’s summer tour of Europe, her youth is undeniable, with the majority of the team in their 20s. But a difference in skill? Not so much.

“It’s going to be kind of intimidating, but I’m on the same level as them … So I’m just hoping to push hard, just like they are.”


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