By Ronald Hanaki
On Saturday, April 18, East Stroudsburg University will host the tenth annual All-American Meet at Eiler-Martin Stadium. The All-American Meet is an outdoor track and field event. Among the many exciting events to watch is the 3000m steeplechase featuring ESU’s own Anthony Ruiz.
Anthony Ruiz is a junior political science and philosophy double major. However, in terms of athletic eligibility, he is considered a sophomore because he redshirted his freshman year.
Ruiz grew up playing sports. He played soccer as a youth, and then he joined the track team in his free time.
Ruiz, a natural talent, excelled at track. In time, he began to run cross country.
Now at ESU, Ruiz is on the cross country and track and field teams. On the track team, Ruiz competes in the distance events. He runs the mile indoors and the 1500m outdoors. Ruiz is also part of the distance relay team.
Now that the outdoor season has begun, Ruiz runs the 3000m steeplechase. The steeplechase is a distance event that is laid out like an obstacle course. It is an event that Ruiz really enjoys competing in.
Last month, Ruiz became a PSAC qualifier in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 9:50.26 at the Washington & Lee Invitational in Lexington, Virginia.
On April 11, Ruiz lowered his PSAC qualifying time in the 3000m steeplechase to 9:42.82 at the Bison Outdoor Classic at Bucknell University.
Ruiz’s long-term goal is to get first place in steeplechase in the PSAC. If he achieves that goal, Ruiz will qualify for nationals in steeplechase.
As for cross country in the fall, Ruiz’s goal is also to make it to nationals.
Individually, Ruiz wants to run the 8K in under twenty-six minutes. He missed his goal by ten seconds last year.
Something of an entrepreneur, Ruiz posts his athletic results on social media so that his friends can track his results.
Ruiz enjoys both competing as an individual and as part of a team.
Ruiz said, “As a team, we have each other as a support system. We are all one big family. So if one person has a problem, everyone has a problem. But it’s also good that as an individual, you can showcase your own ability, as well, by yourself.”
This year, ESU will host the PSAC Outdoor Championships from April 30 to May 2.
Ruiz said, “I am excited about the PSAC Outdoor Championships. It’s good for the seniors, and it’s good for us to have the home field advantage.”
Ruiz revealed, “We are the only PSAC school to have the steeple on the outside of lanes, not inside. We will have an edge.”
He enthused, “I like crowds. It’s good for students to support athletics, as it’s an extension of the university. I go to the baseball and football games.”
Ruiz’s favorite athlete is Nick Symmonds, a middle-distance track star. Ruiz counts the New York Mets and Jets as his favorite sports teams.
Ruiz credits his father for stoking his competitive fire. Ruiz’s father has been a police officer at ESU for eighteen years. His father told him to “never give up and always give 110%. And practice makes perfect.”
Ruiz also credits his high school track coach Drew Davis for his athletic success. Coach Davis is an ESU alumnus who used to run track at ESU. Coach Davis said to Ruiz, “Being good is physically demanding. You will have to sacrifice something.”
Thus, Ruiz learned early on how to balance his classes and athletics with a social life. That self-discipline has allowed Ruiz to achieve an overall GPA of 3.855. Needless to say, his parents are proud of his academic and athletic achievements.
Ruiz said, “It’s good to do sports. It’s good to learn how to balance school and work.”
Ruiz’s academic accomplishments include being named twice to the USTFCCCA (United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) All-Academic team for the 2014 and 2013 seasons.
Ruiz is a political science major with a concentration in pre-law. At first, he was interested in family law, but now he is more interested in corporate law “because I am competitive,” said Ruiz.
In the future, Ruiz envisions himself working and practicing law in a city like New York or Washington, D.C.
Ruiz is also a philosophy major. His favorite philosopher used to be John Locke – until Ruiz found out that Locke was a racist. Now his favorite philosopher is Thomas Hobbes.
In addition, Ruiz is in the honors program, and he will be doing his thesis with philosophy professor Dr. T. Storm Heter next semester.
Ruiz said, “Dr. Heter is my favorite professor. He really showed how helpful critical thinking is. He opened up subjects for people to talk about like race. An educational setting is a perfect way for people to voice opinions.”
Under Dr. Heter’s tutelage, Ruiz is on his way to becoming a silver-tongued orator. Ruiz says, “Nothing is ever factual. You can use rhetoric to make it in your favor.” Take that, Clarence Darrow.
With Dr. Heter, it’s a mutual admiration society. Dr. Heter said, “Anthony Ruiz is an outstanding student. I kid him because he is the kind of student who will have an assignment done days or even weeks in advance and have it already stapled and ready to be handed in at a moment’s notice. He is very well-organized.”
As for his own politics, Ruiz is a supporter of former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ruiz said, “She did a lot of good as Secretary of State. Her views aren’t that radical. She is moderate radical, and she helped bring the country together.”
For his part, Ruiz believes in giving back to the community. In December, he participated in the 15th annual Teddy Bear Drive conducted by ESU’s Student Senate. The Teddy Bear Drive collects stuffed animals and toys for local children in need.
Ruiz has served in the Student Senate in previous semesters, but he is not a Student Senator this semester because of his very busy schedule. However, Ruiz plans on running for Student Senate again when ESU’s Student Senate holds its elections on April 20, 21, and 22.
Ruiz is currently taking the senior seminar in political science. As part of a semester-long project, Ruiz is studying public and private schools in Monroe, Northampton, and Lehigh counties.
Specifically, Ruiz is looking at race in schools and seeing if there is a disparity in race. He is also looking at school funding, and the originality of his research comes from his study of data from non-southern or non-metropolitan areas like the three aforementioned counties in eastern Pennsylvania.
Ruiz plans to present his research findings at ESU’s third annual Student Research and Creative Activity Symposium on April 23.
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