High school senior Rachel Ruzevich's versatility on the court has translated into personal fulfillment in her role on Carl Sandburg's girls basketball team. Aside from transitioning into a new position on offense, Ruzevich was able to guard four different positions on defense, according to her coach, Chris Hellrung. In her third and final year on the varsity squad, Ruzevich's 3-point shooting led to the state contest.
Hellrung, who has 15 years of coaching experience (including five at Sandburg), said that Rachel “has been one of the hardest workers that we have had at Sandburg since I’ve been here. She has been an outstanding teammate on and off the court.”
Name: Rachel Ruzevich
Age/year in school: 17/Senior
Hometown: Orland Park, Ill.
How long have you played basketball?
I have been playing basketball since I was eight years old. I started at the recreational level, played in grammar school, junior high and high school. In addition, I played on several travel teams since I was 11 years old.
What do you love most about basketball?
It is a team sport with five individuals who combine their talents, feed off each other and play to win. Also, you can always improve on your talents and skills. There is always something that can make you better and I like challenging myself each time I step on the court.
What was your biggest challenge this season? How did you overcome it?
Playing a position that I don’t usually play. This year our team was very short. I was considered one of the post players, and I am usually a shooting guard. I didn’t let the fear of being a smaller post player come to my mind while I was guarding someone 4 to 5 inches taller than I was.
What was your favorite moment of this season? Why?
When I went downstate for the 3-point shooting contest. I won the regional, sectional, semifinal and made it to the finals for my high school division. I wanted to end my senior year with a bang. I was fortunate enough to be one of the top four 3-point shooters in the 4A division for girls’ high school basketball in Illinois. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my basketball season!
Do you have any rituals or superstitions when you play?
I usually enjoy drinking some type of hot or cold coffee before every game and I listen to music.
Who has inspired you most in your athletic endeavors?
My parents are my biggest supporters. They have brought me to all of my travel basketball games [and] to all the early morning and late practices. They are also always on the sideline cheering me on at every game. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am now without the help and support from them.
If you didn’t play basketball, what would you be doing?
I would probably be doing gymnastics. I started gymnastics when I was five years old, but quit to pursue basketball full time.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
My favorite athlete is Skylar Diggins [Notre Dame women’s basketball player] because she is so passionate about the game of basketball. She always goes on the court wanting to win as a team player. I am hoping I can emulate her style while I pursue my college basketball career at Wayne State University.
What hobbies or activities do you enjoy outside basketball?
I love to bake and decorate all kinds of desserts, from cookies, brownies, cakes, cupcakes to ice cream pies. I also love to spend time with my friends and family.
Favorite quote or words to live by:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan
Profile edited by Lauren Comitor. Local coaches who would like to see an athlete featured in TribLocal should email email@example.com.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun