“My dream is to get in a car racing school,” says the 5-foot-3-inch tall long hitter, not betraying a trace of her Warsaw, Poland birth in her crisp English. “But first, I want to work to be the best golfer I can be.”
When the names Danica Patrick and Shirley Muldowney are lobbed at her, as she reclines under an umbrella next to the Riverwalk driving range following La Jolla High’s team practice, she responds, “Oh, the NASCAR driver,” to the first. To the second, she is a little more hazy: “Is she the 78-year-old who got back in a race car?” She wasn’t sure if she had heard of this latter female trailblazer who had been a drag racer back in the 1970’s.
Goals too lofty? Both golf and racing? Krasuski has plenty of models of forging forward in her own family: Her father, Robert, is a successful local businessman who takes the family to Europe pretty much each year and who shares a passion with his daughter for the 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race in France. Olivia’s step-grandmother, Dr. Alicia K. Kennedy, is a successful dentist whom she speaks proudly of. Her step grandpa Zyga was a water engineer.
Krasuski, who expresses an equal seriousness about her academics as she does about her athletics, forms a key element of Coach Aaron Quesnell’s golf team this fall at La Jolla High. After a transition year, he says this year’s varsity six could be “in the mix” in CIF.
Quesnell’s squad, led by returning junior Brea Tyrus and Krasuski, faced some early high heat: The Viking six played Scripps Ranch, ranked third in CIF San Diego Section, among other top-rated teams in early going this season. Quesnell sought to console them: “We’re playing some really tough teams,” he told them before the match against the Falcons at Rancho Bernardo Country Club. “I don’t want you to get down. The most important thing is that you play the best you can play.” In other words, use the competition as a classroom to learn and get better, not as a reason to become self-critical.
“Brea practiced her butt off in the offseason,” says Krasuski to her teammate’s credit. “Amalia Parzen (a fellow sophomore) has improved so much. I’m proud and happy for her. She’s going to be a good player.” The varsity filled out with juniors Katie Graham and Ariela Feinberg, the former a returner from last year, the latter who came back to golf after not playing for two years, and freshman Chloe Kim.
Krasuski said her trip to Europe the past summer, including her trek with her father to Le Mans, included a lot of “seeing relatives, going horseback riding on my Arabian horse, going hunting because I love to hunt. When we’re (including mom Kasia, pronounced “kasha”, and baby brother Philip, who is 3) in Europe, we love to travel.” The family drives, this year having their car shipped to Belgium.
But her golf took a back seat, so she is presently taking lessons with La Jolla High assistant coach Christy Quinn. Her goal: to get back to the 78 range she was carding last year at her peak as a freshman.
“I like golf, just being out on the course in nature,” the history/English/science enthusiast shares. “I’m also the kind of person that always has to be doing something. Golf allows me to concentrate. It’s something you have to practice over and over again. When one thing goes right, something else goes wrong. You’re constantly trying to get the perfect swing.”
She says of studying history in class, “I think it’s very interesting how the world and countries and states came to be. There has been a lot of bloodshed (through history). Everything comes with a price.”
Asked to elaborate on the bloodshed point, she says, “I think war is a stupid way people think is going to solve things. Politicians and other leaders have this fight, and then have young people get in there to fight in war.”
Of her Polish citizenship, while expressing admiration for the United States, Krasuski asserts, “Yes, I’m proud. Poland has been through so much, with Russia and Germany and other countries. I told (teammate) Ariela I was born in Warsaw (at practice the previous week, which surprised Feinberg, who is a friend and hadn’t known). I would never say I’m something that I’m not. I’m proud to be from Warsaw.”
“In Poland, people are nice, kind, warm. If they’re not your friend, they would be upfront about it.”
Asked how her friends would describe her, the 16-year-old says, “They would describe me as real. And they definitely would describe me as a tomboy,” she adds, smiling.
Krasuski’s last name in her native country would be “Krasuska”, as her mother’s is, because the last name for a female changes to the feminine form. “But here I use Krasuski. It’s just easier.” To complicate matters even more, she says her father’s adoptive dad was Krasucki, with a “c” instead of “s."
Besides horseback riding, Olivia also invested three years on the Mammoth Ski Racing Team. “They take you on the toughest routes,” she reports. “I’ve been skiing since I was 18 months old.”
“Academics are very important. I dipped a little in my GPA last year as a freshman in adapting to high school and juggling my time with golf, but I would like to go to Stanford or UCLA, a solid academic college, and play golf on an athletic scholarship. To do that, I’m going to have to draw attention from a school with good golf and good grades.”
One Polish custom she shares is opening Christmas presents on New Year’s Eve instead of Christmas like here. “We eat dinner at about 9 p.m.,” she says, “Then, after dinner, each person has a ‘wafelek’ (wafer). It’s like the body of Christ (in communion). You say a blessing on each person, like, ‘I wish you best this year. May the year bring you joy and may you wake up every morning with a small on your face, and may you stay healthy and happy.’ Then they take off a piece of your ‘wafelek’.”
The gift of each day is a theme of Krasuski’s: At the start of the interview, she answers a reporter’s query, “How are you?” with “Good. Every day is a good day.”