By Chris Hulsart
TRAGEDY struck in the early morning of Oct. 8 when York College student Drew Ruehlicke died suddenly.
Ruehlicke, in his third year at York, was a student-athlete who accomplished a lot during his time here. More than what he did on the field or anywhere else, Ruehlicke’s impact as a member of the community was most felt with his positive influence on others.
Coaches of his describe it as something impossible to replace.
“Drew made a significant impact on our daily team culture and training environment through being hard-working, humble, a supportive teammate, and someone who always appreciated being out on the field each day with his teammates,” head coach Evan Scheffey said Tuesday.
Through heartache, the team as a whole went through every day keeping Ruehlicke in mind. It started with traveling to New Jersey as a group for his funeral service.
Before the following home game, a moment of silence was held for Ruehlicke, with a large showing from the student body for the beloved striker.
Many Spartans donned Ruehlicke’s initials somewhere on their uniforms for the remainder of the games. Through all this, the bond of the roster grew.
Senior goalkeeper Keegan Brade said, “Coach gave us time off just to be together before practicing again.”
Through win or loss, the group knew they were a part of something bigger than the game.
Sophomore midfielder Liam MacDonald described it this way, “We set our standard as a team to Drew’s standard as an individual player. We fought together as a family.”
Although no two individuals, much less an entire team, can grieve in identical ways, perhaps Ruehlicke’s mother put it best in her message to the team.
“The best way they can honor Drew is to live like Drew did – optimistic, glass half-full, hardworking, supportive, gracious and impeccable moral character. He would want them to keep fighting and keep working hard,” she said.
The Spartans lost to Messiah on Nov. 3 in the MAC Commonwealth semifinals. It broke their five-game winning streak; they finished the season at 10-6-3. York is now 36-20-3 all-time in conference postseason play. You can find more details on the game at this link.
Beyond just this season of coming together over an insurmountable setback, Scheffey said he believes it is something that applies to the future, too.
“Drew’s legacy of being a humble, hard-working, kind, servant-leader is forever woven into the DNA of our program,” he said.
Chris Hulsart is a sophomore and a Sport Media major.
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