Lucija Ruzevic, daughter of Nino and Lara Ruzevic, just returned from competing in the US Junior Championships for the Smythe Trophy where she secured a 6th place finish among twenty of the most elite laser radial youth sailors in the US. This year, Lucija was the only girl to qualify for the laser radial division. That meant she was going head-to-head with nineteen young men who were all older, bigger, and more experienced than Lucija, and she beat almost three-quarters of them.
Only two youth sailors from each of the eleven districts are eligible to compete in their class at the US Junior Championships, held in Toms River, New Jersey in 2017. To secure her invitation to the US Junior Championships, Lucija had to place in the top two at the highly-competitive Smythe qualifiers held at the Gulf Coast Championships.
It was only earlier this year that Lucija started racing radials. Lucija has graduated to progressively bigger boats twice in just eighteen months. It was early in 2016 that Lucija moved from Optis to the 4.7 laser fleet. She sailed the 4.7 for less than a year before moving up to the laser radials in April.
The 4.7 was a great fleet for Lucija, too. You will recall that she was the top ranked 4.7 sailor in Texas for the 2016 season, earning her seat at the Race of Champions held at White Rock earlier this year.
Now in the radial class for less than a year, she is the top ranked youth radial sailor in TSA.
Lucija will compete in three final TSA regattas in 2017, including our own Pirates of the Corinthian. As this season winds down, she is maintaining her strength/cardio training that includes two core workouts a day in addition to an hour of swimming.
Professional sailing coach Scott Lindley continues to guide Lucija’s sailing career and considers her a remarkably coachable sailor. “She listens and does what you ask her. And she asks the right questions. She is one of the youngest kids out there (in the laser radial class). She has some things to learn about sailing under pressure, but she is handling pressure more maturely than most kids.” Coach Lindley added that it’s Lucija’s passion for sailing that sets her apart from her competition.
US Youth Championships held at Corpus Christi Yacht Club, held in June 25-28, 2017. Images courtesy of Emily Stoke of Corpus Christi Yacht Club.