John Ruggeberg — who helped the Winona Senior High School (WSHS) boys and girls cross country teams win 23 conference titles, 16 section titles and four state titles during his three decades as an assistant and head coach — was inducted into the Minnesota Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Monday, August 5.
Ruggeberg served as the Winhawks’ assistant boys and girls’ cross country coach from 1980-2000, then was the head coach from 2001-2009. He also was an assistant track and field coach in 1971 and from 1977 to 1994.
“He was instrumental to the success Winona teams had as an assistant and expanded on that tradition as a head coach,” said Jed Reisetter, who succeeded Ruggeberg as the cross country coach at WSHS. “I had the pleasure of being John’s assistant coach for his last two years of coaching. For me, it was an education in managing, inspiring and being an example for young adults that I had not received in any other setting. It is only because of what I learned as an assistant under coach Ruggeberg that I was able to become the head coach after him.”
Ruggeberg’s teams made 27 appearances at the Minnesota State High School League State Meet, and he coached runners to a total of four individual state titles. He was the Big 9 Conference Coach of the Year in 2005 (boys), 2006 (boys), 2007 (girls) and 2008 (girls), and the Section 1AA Coach of the Year in 2003 (boys), 2005 (boys), 2007 (girls) and 2008 (girls).
Ruggeberg coached Garrett and Elliott Heath to multiple state, section and conference titles before they embarked on All-American careers at Stanford.
The Winhawks’ cross country program plans to publicly honor Ruggeberg at some point this season.