Ready to cause a racket

Ruck participates in US Open, has high hopes for senior season


Annie Leath

On Nov. 4, senior Simon Ruck serves a racquetball at practice. His first match will be on Nov. 22 against Parkway West.

Annie Leath, Staff Reporter

In October 2019, senior Simon Ruck started his racquetball career. Three years later, Ruck has made his way to the professional level competition. From Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, he participated in the Racquetball US Open, held in Minneapolis.

“I joined the team because I was inspired by my dad to play. My dad also played at Lafayette in the early 90s when they were dominant,” Ruck said.

Embracing the tough competition and quick pace of play, Ruck desired the experience more than the awards and medals. 

“For me, [the tournament] was just to grow as a player and grow in all areas of my game with my mentality. I’ve always struggled a little bit with my mentality and being able to close games, so that’s something I really worked on there and in-game how to finish it the right way. Then, obviously just other areas of my skill, just make sure everything that I want to do I can do before the high school season starts,” Ruck said. 

Since this tournament draws in players worldwide, Ruck was able to compete against new competition rather than the people he is used to playing in the Missouri league. 

“There is a completely different array of people. One example is in singles I actually lost to another teenager from Costa Rica. I’ve never seen this kid before and I will probably never see him again. But it was an interesting experience. I mean, of course it’s the US Open. Pros were everywhere, you could literally turn around and be surrounded by all-world players, players that were gonna play in the Olympics, or who had just played in the Olympics,” he said. 

Along with playing, Ruck has had to referee different matches in his division and above. 

“I actually did ref a match for a pro. I reffed a match for somebody by the name of Rocky Carson, who has been the second-ranked pro in the world from the early 2000s to the 2020s which is a pretty decent accomplishment,” he said. 

Unlike the typical singles match where there are only two players on the court, the game he refereed with Carson was a doubles game, where there are four players on the court. Ruck had to adjust to the pace of play while reffing. 

“It’s just an absolute nightmare to try and keep up with everything, especially when you can’t really see anything from where you’re standing,” he said. 

The lessons learned and the increased level of competition helped Ruck get prepared for the beginning of his racquetball season.

Going into the season, I am already pretty confident that I’m gonna at least make the semi-finals and that’s my goal. Once you make the semi-finals, all bets are off. But I think [the US Open] really helped me sharpen my skills and should help me again against pretty much everybody that’ll play”

— Simon Ruck

Leading up to the season, Ruck has been given the opportunity to take on a new role for the team as well as an advancement in his “seed,” or placement on the team. The first seed, aka one seed, is usually filled by the most skilled player on the team. 

“I am the captain of the boy’s varsity team so I lead the team. I am also the number one [seed] so I will play the hardest matchup that every school has to offer. I think I’m gonna win most, if not all of those games,” he said. 

Ruck plans to spend his last season in working to be the best player in the high school league in Missouri.

“The other thing for me this year is I really want to fulfill the promise that I made to my coach when I started my freshman year, which is I was gonna be the best player in the state of Missouri for high school by the end of the year, and I think I’m pretty close to fulfilling that goal,” Ruck said.

He continues to work with head coach Manny Rodriquez to further his skills.

“[Ruck] has grown into a great leader for our team. It’s been a pleasure to have him. He has been instrumental in the chemistry of our team culture,” Rodriguez said.