Julia Sarcona loved the outdoors. It was common for her to take early morning hikes on the Chautauqua Trailhead in the Flatirons Mountains of Boulder, Colorado.
Sarcona, who played lacrosse for Northport High School and at the University of Colorado, was killed Saturday when her car left the road and hit a tree, Colorado state police said. She was 21.
“She was driving back down the mountain from what she loved to do,” said her father, Joe Sarcona, formerly of Northport.
Colorado State Trooper Josh Lewis said Monday that investigators determined the crash occurred about 9 a.m. Saturday on Colorado Highway 119.
“It’s just so devastating,” Joe Sarcona said. “My daughter was a beautiful person who was so full of life. She was big into hiking and absolutely loved being outside.
“It’s so beautiful out here in Colorado and she would just disappear into the woods on a hike. We’d come out for a visit three or four times a year and we started going with her on a hike or mountain biking.”
Sarcona, a senior at the University of Colorado, was to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in communications. She was set to begin the women’s lacrosse season in mid-February. Team meetings and conditioning had already started.
A candlelight vigil was held Monday at Northport Harbor at 6 p.m.
Teammate Carly Cox of Bay Shore said she lived off-campus with Sarcona for two years at Colorado. “She was my best friend. I’m going to miss her friendship and all the little moments watching movies and quoting them together,” Cox said. “We’d pick out our favorite lines and had our own little language in our own little world.”
Sarcona spent the summer working in the sports information department at Colorado. Senior Kelsie Garrison of Westlake Village, California, said it was a special summer, in which she and Julia bought a black retriever and named the dog Forrest.
“She’s so warmhearted,” Garrison said. “I can’t believe she’s gone. It was just the two of us, so we went and bought a dog. We sat in the hammock every day and enjoyed such a beautiful summer. We’d work or go to class in the morning, and explore Boulder in the afternoons. She liked to take Forrest up into the Flatirons on long hikes.”
Northport girls lacrosse coach Carol Rose said Sarcona was a varsity freshman when the Tigers won the state’s Class A title in 2011 with an 11-10 double overtime win over Pittsford.
“Julia was a happy kid,” Rose said. “She was an amazing person, teammate and friend, who was a free spirit who loved life. Her love for the game and infectious smile brought joy to everyone. Her impact on all her friends, teammates and coaches will always be treasured and never forgotten.”
Sarcona was called up to the Northport varsity as an eighth-grader and played attack for five years for the Tigers.
“We’re a lacrosse family and she’s the youngest of three,” Joe Sarcona said. “It was a path that was inevitable for her.”
Sarcona is also survived by her mother, Alessandra, sister, Nina, of Philadelphia, and her brother, Matthew, of the Bronx.
“My sister loved to make people laugh and is probably the funniest person I’ve ever been around,” Nina Sarcona said. “She was a quick wit and a step ahead of everybody.”
Joe Sarcona was with members of the lacrosse team Monday in Colorado.
“They’re all devastated, but I can appreciate all the sharing of stories and funny anecdotes — it definitely helps,” he said. “The Colorado Buffaloes have been so great and so supportive with our family.”
Cox said the team plans to attend Sarcona’s funeral services.
“She had a special connection with everyone on this team,” Cox said.
The viewing and funeral arrangements will be held in Philadelphia Friday and Saturday.
With Zachary R. Dowdy