“She came back the following year to win the national title,” said her coach.
Eighteen-year-old Ruse, a Poland High School senior, shows a dedication well beyond her years in a sport that she said keeps her at the gym 20 hours a week, while also managing membership in the National Honor Society and earning school valedictorian honors.
“My schedule is all over the place,” said Ruse, who, in addition to her regular high school classes, also attends Youngstown State University. She completes her days with four hours of gymnastics.
Taking it all in stride, Ruse said she has gained from her hectic gymnastic agenda.
“Time management... just learning how to balance everything out.”
According to Sandy Sabo of Youngstown Gymnastics Center, her coach for the last seven of her 13 years in the sport, Ruse has achieved level 10, the highest level of the Junior Olympic program. After recently qualifying at the state competition, she moved on to regional competition in Cleveland, where she placed 14th all-around.
In addition, Sabo said Ruse has several titles on the regional and state levels, has traveled to Florida for competition, and suffered what could have been a debilitating arm injury in 2008. Ruse, however, came back the following year, capturing the title of 2009 Level 9 National Champion, having competed with two 5/8-inch rods in her arm.
Ruse, the daughter of Kevin and Elaine Ruse, said she plans to attend the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and isn’t hanging up her leotard just yet. She will join the school’s gymnastic team as a walk-on while studying pre-med.
Having done some coaching herself and as the oldest gymnast at YGC, Ruse said of what she looks most forward to at college is “being around kids my own age.”
Ruse offered a word of advice to the up-and-coming gymnasts following in her successful footsteps, “Stay with it even when it gets hard,” she said.
Photos by Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier correspondent
At age 18, Poland High School senior Stacia Ruse has led a successful balancing act of school and athletics, a tradition she’ll continue at the College of William and Mary, where she will compete with the gymnastic team there while studying pre-med.