Ruhenkamp recognized for athletic and academic achievements on and off the court
For an example of what an NCAA student athlete should be, look no further than Grand Valley State
University junior setter Clair Ruhenkamp of the volleyball team. A student athlete ought to be
diligent, influential and team-oriented, and Ruhenkamp is all of the above.
“She’s an excellent student,” GVSU head coach Deanne Scanlon said. “She puts as much time and
effort in the classroom as she does in the gym. I never have any doubt in my mind that she’s going
to be working hard.”
In addition to being named an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection in each of her first two
seasons with the team, Ruhenkamp was named to the GLIAC All-Academic Team in 2012. The Fort
Laramie, Ohio native knows what it takes to lead by example.
“I try to be a leader on the court, off the court and in the classroom,” she said.
To say she is team-oriented is an understatement.
Ruhenkamp is the ultimate teammate. In each of the past two seasons, she has been the only Laker
to make an appearance in each set (225) of every match (60). Her durability is just part of her blue-
collar approach to the game of volleyball.
She has racked up 1,912 career assists, which ranks eighth most in GVSU history, and still has two
years to add to that total. If she continues to set up her teammates at a similar pace, she could
finish within the top five.
“You might not get all the glory as a setter,” she said. “But it’s just as exciting for me when a hitter
gets a point. It’s all about the team. I’d much rather have big banners than individual awards.”
Scanlon said one of the strengths of the team this season is its depth at the setter position.
She compared her situation to the GVSU football team, which has a pair of quality starting
quarterbacks, and said she is comfortable using either Ruhenkamp or junior Kaitlyn Wolters
interchangeably without having to worry about the ego of either player.
“We have two very good setters in our program with Clair and Kaitlyn,” she said. “Clair has that
mindset to be ready to go no matter what the hole is on this team.”
During the Riverfront Hotel Grand Rapids Classic, she showed her versatility by playing multiple
positions after a teammate went down with an injury. To sophomore outside hitter Betsy Ronda,
Ruhenkamp is a key player whose value transcends the expectations of a teammate.
“Clair is just an extremely good team player,” Ronda said. “She’s always there to motivate
teammates and come out with a positive attitude no matter what kind of day it is.”
Multitalented individuals like Clair Ruhenkamp may not get all the glory, but at least they
understand what being a student athlete is all about.
The team returns to action tomorrow night in the Oredigger Classic, an eight-team event at the
Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo.