October 3, 2013

Kosir to Race for Spot at Nationals

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Just two points separated junior Urska Kosir from qualifying for the ICSA Women's Singlehanded National Championship last year.  Every year, the top five finishers at the New England Women's Singlehanded Championship earn berths to the nationals and she was sixth.  The year before that, she was seventh.  However, she has not given up and this weekend she will try again.

Many athletes tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves before a qualifying event, but Kosir is taking a different approach.  "I'm not really focusing on the result right now," she said.  "I just want to have fun and have a good regatta." 

That attitude is what has enabled Kosir to become one of the No.3 Yale women's sailing team's most improved and versatile members.  Prior to coming to Yale, Kosir sailed mostly Laser 4.7s—a version of the collegiate singlehanded dinghy, the laser radial, with less sail area.  In fact, Kosir won the Laser 4.7 World Championships in 2009, sailing for her home country of Slovenia.  So she was clearly talented, but she had a lot to adjust to upon entering college.  

In addition to the cultural shift from Slovenia to America, she was forced to learn to sail new boats with two people instead of one and she was asked to crew instead of skipper.  Success did not come right away, but Kosir persisted with an open mind and at the end of her freshman year she led the Bulldogs to a second-place finish at the 2012 ICSA Women's Dinghy Nationals as a crew.  Last season she continued to crew and finished consistently in the top three in A division.  This season, she is back to skippering and has yet to finish outside of the top three in any regatta.    

"I think the fact that I have been skippering will definitely help me this weekend," reported Kosir.

Over the past several weeks, she has spent some time training with laser sailors on the coed sailing team, two of which recently qualified for the ICSA Men's Nationals Singlehanded Championship.  She also got the chance to train with her old teammate, Claire Dennis '13, who is campaigning for the 2016 Olympics in the laser radial but came back to visit Yale a couple of weeks ago. 

Dennis was the Bulldogs' top representative at the women's singlehanded nationals for four years in a row and won the championship her sophomore year.  She left big shoes to fill when she graduated last spring, but Kosir seems up to the challenge.  Her past accomplishments certainly prove that she is capable. 

Follow the results of the Women's New England Singlehanded Championship online using this link.

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity