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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Carleton alum Ruth Steinke hired as assistant track coach

<rleton College Track and Field program has recently announced a new addition to the coaching staff. As of December, Ruth Steinke ’16 has rejoined the team as an assistant coach while Head Coach Donna Ricks is on sabbatical leave. Ruth is an incredibly accomplished and decorated student-athlete, having competed on both the cross country and track and field teams during her four years at Carleton. Excelling as a distance runner, Steinke was a five-time All-American and is the second woman in Carleton’s cross-country program to earn multiple All-America awards. As acknowledged by Carleton and the MIAC, Steinke was chosen as a nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year and was recognized as a Top 30 honoree. Through thriving athletically, academically and within her community, Ruth presented a model that has inspired many of Carleton’s current student-athletes.   

Steinke is overjoyed to be back on the Carleton campus. In transitioning from student to coach, Steinke is looking to reconnect with the team and discover a new type of support role. Rumors had been floating that Head Coach Donna Ricks would be taking a sabbatical leave, though Steinke never suspected she would be offered a coaching position.

“It was a total surprise,” Steinke said.

When asked to serve, she immediately knew that this was a role she would be honored to take on. Now coaching many of her former teammates, Steinke is confident in being able to establish a positive dynamic. Having developed such strong bonds throughout her time with the program, Steinke explained that “the team respects and trusts each other so much–we’re truly like a family.” Considering her passion and appreciation for sport, Steinke expressed that being a coach has always been a goal in her mind. Additionally, she developed an interest in teaching near the end of her time at Carleton and said she would enjoy the opportunity to do a teaching residency with the hopes of becoming a math teacher.

Looking at this year’s track team, Steinke is excited about the teamwork and depth already being displayed among the athletes. She explained that “many freshmen are feeling confident and pushing to run with the upperclassmen.” Feeling optimistic about the upcoming season, Steinke is eager to uncover how she can be of the most help in her new role. She stated that “my leadership style has always been to lead by example” and hopes to “offer inspiration and passion.” While she can no longer lead on the track, she hopes to support the program by giving her whole heart to the team, as Coach Ricks taught Steinke during her time as a student-athlete.

Steinke is extremely grateful for all that Carleton has provided her, and believes being a four-year student-athlete undoubtedly helped her grow as a person. From athletics, to academics to her general viewpoints, Steinke explained how her perspective changed her from “being a performance-based mindset to doing commitments just out of a love for them.” She believes Carleton helped her to flourish in ways she never thought possible.

Athletic Director Gerald Young is very excited and proud to have Steinke representing the Knights again in her new coaching position.  He described Steinke as “the epitome of what a Division III athlete should be.” She will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the athletics program, through her “fantastic work ethic, high level of sportsmanship and impeccable leadership qualities.”

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