Plainfield's Ruffo eyes one more track record

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Plainfield - posted Mon., Nov. 11, 2013
Kerri Ruffo just before crossing the finish line of the ECC championship. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Kerri Ruffo just before crossing the finish line of the ECC championship. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Plainfield High School senior Kerri Ruffo started running when she was in the fourth grade. It didn’t take her long to figure out that she had a gift for it. When she ran through the chute at the end of her first really long race, it felt cool. “That was the first time I realized that I could be good,” she said.

She has been very good at Plainfield. She’s broken school records for the 800, 1500, 1600, 3200 and 5000 meter events, the four by eight relay, the sprint medley relay where she runs the last leg of 800 meters, and the distance medley relay, where she anchors the last 1600 meters.

“She’s a tough cookie,” said her coach, Kevin Grant. “She’s very competitive. She wants to anchor the race, or hold someone off or catch someone.”

Grant should know, because he’s been coaching Ruffo for four years. “She’s a coach’s dream,” he said. “She doesn’t whine. She doesn’t complain. She’ll ask what she can do to get better. She’s very dedicated.”

That dedication has paid off. She won the Wickham Invitational and was an Eastern Connecticut Conference Champion in her sophomore year. In her junior year she was Class SS champion, came in second in the ECC, and won the States. In her senior year she was the champion of all the ECC schools. She has been named All-State in every year.

None of that lessened her disappointment when she came in 26th at the CIAC Open. “I’d been so strong in training,” she said. “That was a bad day.” Because of her placement, she missed being able to compete in the New England cross country championship.

“That was a tough day,” Grant admitted. But he expects Ruffo will excel in college, where women’s cross country events are a little longer. “That will benefit her. She’s the type of runner who will do well in long events.”

In the meantime, Ruffo is looking forward to competing in either the Nike Regional or Footlocker Championship. After that, there’s a record she has her eye on at Plainfield High School. “I want to break the five-minute mile,” she said. Her last attempt was 5:04. With eight months left in the school year, there’s little doubt she’ll make it.

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