By: John Raffel
Ruggles family continues to make impact on Sacred Heart sports scene
The Ruggles family at Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart has been having a busy fall with sports.
Ian, a senior this fall, has been starting quarterback for Sacred Heart while his sister, Sophie, a junior, has been a standout volleyball player.
Their dad, John Ruggles, was an active Sacred Heart athlete (football, basketball and track) in his high school days. He also played football at Alma College. He later coached at such places as Ithaca and Sacred Heart Academy.
It's Ian's first year as starting quarterback.
“He started at wide receiver the last two years,” John said. “But he's always been a quarterback. Since he was in the sixth grade, he's been a quarterback and wanted to be one even at the college level. The last few years he was waiting his time being a wide receiver.”
Sophie was moved up to the varsity the end of her freshman year and, since then, has been at that position, as a middle hitter. She was honorable mention all-state as a sophomore and also in basketball. She played varsity basketball as a freshman. She's involved in AAU basketball during the spring.
“She's been more focused on basketball over the last few years,” John said. “But she's had good success at both.”
John is also the line coach for Sacred Heart's football team.
“Back in my day, if you were a big guy, they said 'go play line,''' he said. “I think big guys today have a better chance to play at the skill positions.”
John has two younger sons in the seventh and ninth grades.
“My dad played college football and my wife's dad was an All-American wrestler at Central,” he said. “There's a lot of sports in our family.”
Sacred Heart was 5-4 during the regular season and qualified for the playoffs, but drew the unenviable task of playing state power Muskegon Catholic Central in the first round.
There have been some fun highlights for Ian.
“That includes breaking the school record for (passing) yardage in a single game,” he said.
Passing is his strength as a quarterback.
“I find my receivers,” he said. “I throw the ball in.”
Football is his best sport and Ian and his teammates have worked with a new coach after veteran skipper Rick Roberts retired.
“He's been an assistant coach,” Ian said. “I don't think there was much of a transition. We all knew what we're doing.”
Hitting and blocking have been major strengths for Sophie but she's also been playing the back row this season.
Sacred Heart has had strong volleyball teams in past seasons and Sophie wants to keep it that way.
“Our goal is to get back to the quarters,” she said. “We'll most likely would see (state power) Leeland again.
Both Ian and Sophie enjoy being in a sports oriented family.
“We're all competitive and enjoy the sport we play,” Ian said.
“It's such a competitive atmosphere,” Sophie agreed. “We help each other. We work out together. Having three brothers, they push me to become a better athlete.”