Legends in the Making

Apr 24, 2014 11:43 PM by KSBY Sports

Legends in the Making: Jeananne Ruck

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - From the beginning it seemed that Jeananne Ruck was destined for softball stardom. She capped off an illustrious career at Buchanan High School in Clovis, California with a Valley Championship in 1995.

Ruck gained college interest from all over the country, but made a verbal pledge to Oklahoma State University, right in the heart of softball heaven. Little did she know, it was the start of her personal living hell.

"The NCAA called and said they had voided the scholarship, so I had to start all over again. And that's when things started to go haywire," said Ruck.

Ruck would eventually find out that Oklahoma State had recruited her "illegally". Following the news, an entirely new recruiting war began, this one even dirtier than the before.

"There were actual specific college coaches who were recruiting me, telling me who told the NCAA and I kind of felt like a pawn in a chess game," said Ruck.

With allegations flying and fingers pointing every which way, Jeananne ended up committing to the Cal State Northridge Matadors, but was ruled academically ineligible.

"I think I was giving up on myself. There were a lot of things that led up to that."

She wound up at Oklahoma City University and as a Freshman in 1996, Ruck was an NAIA All American and helped lead her team to a national championship. Despite the success, the academic issues persisted and she was ruled academically ineligible for a second time after her Freshman season.

"I was choosing not to work hard enough to do what I needed to do to achieve my goals."

Following her Oklahoma City troubles, Ruck made a commitment to play Junior College softball in Kansas. By then her academic life was spiraling out of control and a softball career that was once filled with so much promise and potential was over.

Jeananne got a job working sales and even became a Professional Boxer for a short while. For years the self-admitted softball addict could barely stand to watch the sport that she once loved and adored so much.

"I hated myself. I simply hated myself. I was embarrassed. I had a community that supported me. I had a whole state that supported me," said Ruck, "I had coaches from all over the country. I was really disappointed in myself and ashamed,"

Years continued to pass when in 2012 Jeananne returned to school, this time solely as a student at Cuesta College.

"I was walking across the athletic department and I knew who the AD was and I said jokingly 'hey, is there is an age limit to play softball?' and he said 'no. Who are you,'"

Just like that the wheels were set in motion once again and 17 years after her softball career had seemingly come to an end, Jeananne Ruck was back. After red-shirting in 2013 to become academically eligible again, she starred for the Cougars this spring. Ruck is tied for the team lead with 10 wins, sports a .390 batting average, leads the team with six home runs and has helped lead Cuesta to their first postseason appearance since 2008.

Cuesta, who earned an automatic berth in to the Western State Conference tournament, will find out their opponent this Saturday.

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