LANCASTER – Fairfield Christian Academy’s Ruthie Johnson is a competitor by nature, but she also has a lot of natural talent.
She has put that to good use in the past two years, but this past season, the sophomore played at a high level in all three sports — volleyball, basketball and track — she participated in.
Johnson, not only had a solid seasons in all three sports, but she played a huge part in helping the Knights win three Mid-State League-Cardinal Division championships.
“This year was definitely a huge success, and I owe a lot to my coaches and teammates, who put a lot of hard work and effort into winning,” Johnson said. “It was a great year, and I’m really proud of my team and myself that we were able to accomplish so much.
In volleyball, Johnson was a middle hitter. Fairfield Christian finished with a 22-4 overall record, the best in school history, and also won the school’s first-ever district championship.
In basketball, Johnson played a key role with her all-around play, as the Knights went undefeated in the Mid-State League-Cardinal Division.
Fairfield Christian cruised to a league title in track, with Johnson leading the way. She won the 200 and 400 and was part of the 4×200 and 4×400 winning relay teams. For her efforts, Johnson took home the league’s top sprinter award and received the most outstanding performance award from the league coaches.
For her efforts, Johnson is The Eagle-Gazette’s 2015 Female Athlete of the Year.
“Being a three-sport athlete, it does get hard because I have to focus on all three sports and not just one or two,” Johnson said. But I have played three sports my whole life, so it’s the only thing I know.”
Johnson is one of those players whom coaches love to coach. She is always upbeat, even if she makes a mistake, and she quickly moves on to the next play. She is basically in “go” mode all the time.
“She is a great competitor and a great worker,” Fairfield Christian volleyball coach Mary Bethe Dewese said. “She is also coachable, and she always wants to get better. She can play any position on the floor in volleyball, and I’m sure that is true for when she is on the basketball court.
“She is just an all-around great athlete. She is the whole package. She is a natural leader on and off the court. I just can’t say enough good things about her.”
Johnson said she looks at playing three sports as a plus.
“I would say, in volleyball, I’m jumping a lot, so that helps my vertical in basketball,” Johnson said. “In basketball, we are running and sprinting a lot, so that helps in track, so I think they all balance each other out and get me ready for each season.”
Johnson has been busy this summer, attending basketball practice three days a week in the mornings as well as going to shoot-outs, and two nights a week, she has volleyball.
“I’ve gotten so used to playing three sports and always being on the go that it is normal now,” she said. “I feel like, if I didn’t play three sports, I would be bored all the time. I love being busy.”
Johnson understands she has a gift, and she is using it to the best of her ability. Her goal is to set a good example for the younger players.
“I’m a very loud personality, and I see myself as a leader.” Johnson said. “People look up to me because I have been through it, and hopefully, the younger girls can look up to me and I can help them understand what is going on.”
“I just give glory to God for my natural ability, but my parents have always pushed me to try my best in everything. I’m very personally motivated because I want to be the best in everything, and I try to give it my all, no matter what I’m doing.”