Going Cross-Country with Kurt Ruegg

Going Cross-Country with Kurt Ruegg

Dylan Lynch '16

Kurt Ruegg (KR) finished off his time at Harvard with a degree in Neurobiology, a 30th place finish at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships and a desire to come back to the west coast for one more year of competitive running.   After a former Bronco coach recommended SCU for the Yountville native's final season of NCAA eligibility, Ruegg was quick to jump on the opportunity and seamlessly transitioned into the role of one of SCU's top runners. Santa Clara Broncos (SCB) had the chance to meet up with Ruegg and discuss his running career and even get some insight how he's learned to love the nickname "Uncle Kurt."

SCB: After a remarkable career running both track and cross country at Harvard, what led you to spend your last year of NCAA eligibility running with the Broncos?

 KR: I was initially pointed in the direction of Santa Clara by our assistant coach at Harvard, who helped coach here a few years back. I also knew that I wanted to come back to California, and specifically Northern California, because I grew up here. After talking to Coach Felipe and hearing about the guys on the team, I knew that it would be a good fit. I could tell that he was excited about the group of guys we had this year and that he would be able to help me get to the next level.

SCB: Being one of the top runners as a new addition to the team is an interesting position; how would you describe your role on the team and how it has evolved since you first got here?

KR: At first it was a little strange assuming one of the top positions on the team. I was the oldest guy on the team, while also being newest to the team and the school, which put me in an interesting position. The guys were extremely accepting of me, which made the transition quite easy. After a little while, I settled in and I feel like just another guy on the team at this point. I feel my role on the team is now best described by my occasional nickname "Uncle Kurt."

SCB: What are your personal and team goals for the rest of the season.

KR: We have only one more race, which is the Portland Twilight Meet this weekend. I've been a little banged up this second half of the season, so I just want to give myself a good shot to run a PR. As for the team, I think this is a fantastic opportunity to get some experience racing against some great runners. We'll see some of the top runners in the nation at this meet and the experience of competing with them is really invaluable for later seasons.

SCB: You earned a degree in Neurobiology from Harvard and now you're on track to complete your Master's degree in Bioengineering, what drew you to that field? 
KR: What drew me into Neurobiology was a combination of great experiences with classes on the subject and a deep curiosity about how this organ can create all that we experience.
SCB: What are your plans for after graduation?
KR: As for after school, I plan on applying for medical school after graduation.


SCB: Now that you've returned to your home state, is there anything you miss from the east coast?

KR: I do miss one thing and that's the first day of spring after a brutal winter. Being greeted by the sun after being holed up for a couple months is truly magical. That also probably gives you some idea why I came back to California.