McADENVILLE N.C.— Center High School senior Camille Ruggles has captured the Amateur Athletic Unions’s (AAU) All-American award during cross country competition held last week in McAdenville “Christmas Town” North Carolina. Ruggles placed eighth in the 17-18 women’s age group.
This is the second time Ruggles’ has earned an All-American award in her career. She also won the award in the regionals as a sophomore.
Ruggles said she began her track career in middle school, running cross-country with Monte Vista until the school lost its team. She then ran for a week with the Sargent team before transferring to Center, where she has run ever since.
“I had to choose between volleyball and track, but I chose track because I am better at it and like it more,” Ruggles explained. “Once I was in high school I trained hard and it got better and better.”
Ruggles placed seventh in regionals as a freshman, then fifth in regionals in her sophomore year. This year she persevered despite a painful foot disorder, placing 14th out of the top 15.
“It was ‘be top 10’ for Camille or die trying,” Coach Dennis Schoenfelder said of his all-star. “She was a regional champion, went to state and ran a really great race.”
All this, Schoenfelder pointed out, while also participating in basketball. Schoenfelder said he wasn’t sure how the nationals would go but he is “really excited” for Camille.
Center has participated in the AAU since 1995, Schoenfelder remarked. Another big All-American winner was track star Ausencio Martinez, who went on to run for Adams State University.
Ruggles said winning her award was especially sweet after a disappointment earlier this year in Del Norte. There she was the predicted winner of a regionals race and won “by milliseconds,” measured by the chip scoring devices runners wear in their shoes. According to Colorado High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) rules, if chips are used races must be judged by the time measured by the chip.
Initially, Ruggles was ranked on the wall recording scores as the first-place winner of the race. But a picture taken by her opponent’s father — which did not even show the two runners crossing the finish line Schoenfelder said — changed the coach’s mind. At the last minute the scores posted on the wall changed and Ruggles was declared to have placed second and her opponent first.
CHSAA eventually became involved and changed the win once again, announcing both girls as tied for first place.
“I still got the championship and All-American,” Ruggles said and that will bode well for her college plans.
Ruggles hopes to continue cross country for the college team of her choice after leaving Center. She plans to become a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing and is considering attending the University of Northern Colorado.
Ruggles is the daughter of Center High School counselor Katrina Ruggles and Ted Ruggles.