Miami pair invited to U.S. Sailing team

Two Olympic hopefuls from Miami were invited to become members of the U.S. Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider on Friday at the conclusion of racing in RS:X men’s and women’s windsurfing classes at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami.

Raul “Coqui” Lopez, 16, a 10th-grader at Miami Killian High, finished 19th out of 20 boats in the RS:X men’s class. But Lopez and 16th-place Carson Crain of Houston were the top Americans in their fleet at the weeklong regatta on Biscayne Bay, so both got the nod. Spain’s Ivan Pastor won the class overall.

Kathleen Tocke, 36, of Miami came in 10th in the 15-boat RS:X women’s fleet to make the U.S. team along with Marion Lepert, who finished ninth. The top RS:X female sailor was Maayan Davidovich of Israel.

Lopez, a standout youth sailor in the windsurfing class, said he has been training with the larger men’s rig for about two months.

“It’s fast and fun and scary,” he said, smiling. “You’re going out skipping across the water. I learned so much — how the top guys perform. I know now what I need to do to become one of the top guys.”

Tocke entered the RS:X women’s class at the World Cup after she failed to find a teammate for the 470. The five-time national champion and Pan Am Games silver medalist in Snipes said she has been training in the RS:X for about 21/2 years.

“It’s really fun, but it’s really hard,” she said. “The first two years were really humiliating. The board is really technical. It has more adjustments than the Laser.”

Competition in the two Paralympic classes for disabled sailors — 2.4mR and Sonar — concluded Friday with Miamian Daniel Evans receiving an invitation to the U.S. Sailing Team for his fifth-place finish in the 17-boat 2.4mR class.

The World Cup, which opened Monday and concludes Saturday, features 10 Olympic and two Paralympic classes of sailboats. Medal races among the top-10 finishers in the remaining Olympic classes will determine who takes the podium in ceremonies Saturday afternoon at Miami’s Coral Reef Yacht Club.

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