From the edge of the pool, the referee blares his whistle,
indicating the start of the third quarter, and each of the 14 players launch into tumultuous motion. The tension between the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Iona College men’s water polo teams can be felt with each water-thrashing play as the score
hangs tight at 10-10. Swiftly, CMS takes possession of the ball,
systematically moving closer to their opponent’s goal. From the perimeter, attacker McClatchy Ruskin CM ’15 closes in, dodging an Iona defender and sinking the
ball in the back of the net to shatter the tie.
goal by Ruskin two minutes later gives CMS the cushion they need to push
through the fourth quarter, culminating in a victorious win in their first home
game against Iona.
Despite having one of his best games
of the season, Ruskin attributes his triumphant play to his teammates.
single time you score a goal, it’s a great feeling,” Ruskin said. “But all of my
successes are because I have a great teammates, and I like supporting them any time
I get the chance.”
Coach Greg Lonzo said that Ruksin has always been a team-oriented player.
“Everything he does is built
around the team concept and making sure everyone does their roles,” Lonzo said.
“There is a lot of leadership in him, so in that way, he is a very valid and
important member of our team.”
Ruskin began his water polo career at a young age, diving into the game at just eight years old. During his childhood he gave football,
baseball and basketball a try, but he has always had an undeniable love for the
water. He joined a club team in his
hometown of Greenwich, Conn., and decided to focus on water polo in high
school and college.
Captain of his high school water
polo team at Choate Rosemary Hall, Ruskin faced a rigorous academic workload on
top of his sports commitments. But his four years of hard work and discipline paid off when he came to college.
“It was difficult to balance
everything in my life during high school,” Ruskin said. “But it definitely
prepared me well for the challenges I face here in Claremont.”
Ruskin is the definition of an interdisciplinary student,
juggling water polo, a Middle Eastern studies major and his extracurricular
activities. On top of these commitments, Ruskin is also part of the 4+1 program
in The Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at CMC, completing his
prerequisites for the master’s degree that he will earn next year.
McClatchy’s work ethic does not go
unnoticed by his team.
“He has always been a very disciplined, academic student,” Lonzo said. “But I think his ability to not only succeed in academics, but everything
else he does and balance his time is unique and very impressive.”
Teammate Ellison Taylor CM ’17, who Ruskin also played with at Choate Rosemary Hall, described him as the most determined
player outside of the pool.
“His work ethic is unparalleled, and he always strives to
accomplish his goals,” said Taylor.
Although McClatchy will receive his
bachelor’s degree this year, this is only his third season playing for CMS
water polo. Last year, Ruskin spent six months in Jordan, studying Arabic,
hiking through rural villages and camping in the desert.
“I like to adventure and travel anytime that I get the
chance,” Ruskin said. “I am always going on some sort of new expedition.”
Even though separating from his team for a year was difficult, McClatchy spent his time away from the team reflecting on how he
could impact the program in the following years.
“I didn’t want to let the guys down when I left for Jordan, but I knew that I would be able to play in my fourth and fifth years,” Ruskin
said. “I could potentially be a stronger and more experienced player at that
point; that way, I could be a bigger contributor to the team.”
rejoined the team this past fall, Lonzo noticed a remarkable change in
him as a player and as a person.
“His months spent in Jordan really
changed his maturity level; you can see it in his play,” Lonzo said. “He
is even more disciplined and patient now. His time abroad really focused his
Despite his many responsibilities, McClatchy never seems to lose
his bright disposition and positive attitude. His time spent abroad only
cemented his dedication to everything he does.
“Being in Jordan taught me to just keep
moving; put one foot forward and never quit,” Ruskin said. “That helps me in athletics,
academics and in my everyday life.”