Each summer, the Minnesota lakes fill up with a myriad of fishermen, water skiers, wakeboarders and more. As seasonal hobbies for many people, Maple Grove Senior High student Avery Ruegsegger sports wakeboarding year-round.
Running in the Ruegsegger family, wakeboarding is an activity that was once and still is a passion of both of her parents.
Exposed to the sport at a young age, Avery has excelled at it ever since.
At only 15 years old, she competes in the U.S. Junior Pro Women’s circuit and recently represented Team USA at the PanAm Games in Mexico. It was there where she won a gold medal in the individual competition and in the team division. “It was just so cool,” Avery says. “I got to meet a bunch of people from across the world.”
The Junior Pro circuit consists of young women ages 14–18 from all over the United States, and it is the last step before going pro. Out of all junior athletes, Avery’s dad and coach Joe Ruegsegger says she ranks among the top 30 wakeboarders and thinks she can make it to the next level. “She’s pretty well set up to go pro,” he says. “We’re looking for colleges where she can be on the water all the time.”
Living in Minnesota poses its challenges for training. Spending a lot of her time practicing on Fish Lake during the summer, the Minnesota winters propose a different agenda. When the lakes freeze, the Ruegseggers make frequent trips to the Orlando Freedom Wake Park in Florida as to ensure Avery will be ready when competitions start up again in the spring. Not only can she practice year-round down there, but she has also had the opportunity to get to know some of the Florida professionals. “I just love wakeboarding,” Avery says. “I can go out, do what I do and just have fun.”
During the offseason, Avery trades in her wakeboard for a snowboard and trains at Elm Creek Park Reserve for the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association competitions. It’s no surprise Avery is also talented on a board in the winter, and she hopes to take her snowboarding to the next level as well.
Her accomplishments have afforded her with the opportunity to share her knowledge with other boarders. With a bright future ahead of her, Ruegsegger says the two are willing to also assist others improve their athletic skillsets in the sport. “Not a lot of people get coached,” he says about wakeboard training.
“So, we can do it if people want.”