The Ruehl of the street


Cross country may be one of the hardest sports at Elder High School, but who knew that it could also be one of the most dangerous?

Freshman Ryan Ruehl is one runner who knows that more than almost anyone else on the team. It all happened during practice on Friday, August 23.

The run was only 3.5 miles and it was meant to be easy, but it turned out to be hard hitting…literally.

On the way back to Elder from the city over watch at the Incline House restaurant, Ryan Ruehl, formerly of Our Lady of Visitation, turned right onto Seton Avenue. At this point, less than a mile from Elder, he came across a group of men standing on the sidewalk. As any runner would do, he decided to bypass them by running on the grass. What happened next left everyone both in disbelief and fury.

Unexpectedly, one of the men said, “Get the f*** off of my lawn.”

According to Ryan, son of Doug and Leah Ruehl, “He punched me in my left gut.” Ryan was not the only one who had a foul experience with this man.

According to other witness testimony, before he hit Ryan, the man tried chasing a group that included freshmen Duncan Rackers, Andrew Schenkel, Corey Lyons, and Kyle Wolfe. Sophomore Jack Vetter testified that after he hit Ryan, the man tried chasing freshman Matt Peterson, who was not too far behind.

Once he made it back to Elder, Ruehl reported the incident. Along with Coach Spencer, Coach Driehaus, and Coach Flaherty, they returned to the scene of the crime and confronted the man. According to head cross country coach Mr. Spencer, he wanted to press charges but is not legally allowed to.

It is unknown whether the Ruehl family will press charges or not. Of course, the shocking aspect of this incident is not only the physical violence involved. But it turns out that altercations with unfriendly locals are not at all uncommon. However, these incidents are almost always along the lines of verbal abuse. Physical violence is extremely rare.

This run was hard hitting, though it was meant to be easy, due in part to the cross country team’s season opener at Wilmington College the next morning.

Ryan described the run itself as “different” and when asked his opinion about the next day’s meet he said, “I need to come prepared.”

But nothing could have prepared Ryan for that run.