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Ruby, Svanson Receive Wall of Fame Honors
Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent
2024-06-05

            The annual Blue & Gold athletic awards ceremony was highlighted by the induction of two long-deserving members of Upper Perkiomen's past and the naming of the current year's outstanding and all-around athletes.

            Steve Ruby, the coach of the only BuxMont basketball champion in school

Steve Ruby

history, and Mike Svanson, a three-sport star in the mid-80s who went on to a storied run as a baseball player at Villanova University, were both inducted into the Upper Perkiomen Wall of Fame for their athletic achievements and for their commitments to the Upper Perk community.

            Ruby spent 50 years in education, 10 of them at Upper Perk as a math teacher, coach, and athletic director.

            During the ceremony, Jim Young, a member of Ruby's 1964-65 championship basketball team that reached the District 1 semifinals, introduced his former coach. "He was more than a coach. He was a mentor, he was a leader, and he was certainly a father figure for myself and all of my teammates at Upper Perk." Young said.

            In his remarks to the audience, Ruby called his time at Upper Perk, from 1963 to 1973, a "good time" citing his players and fellow coaches, including legendary football coach Bill Keeny, as the reason.

            Later, in an interview, Ruby fondly recalled his athletes on the championship team. "It was 12 youngsters, players like that, I don't know if they are around today in terms of listening, doing what they should be doing."

            In addition to his time spent coaching the high school team, Ruby was a Red Hill councilman for several years and also established basketball camps for young children in the Valley.

Mike Svanson

            Svanson was introduced by fellow "Green Laner" Matt Duka, a teammate in three sports, a lifelong friend, and fellow 1985 graduate.

            "If you know Mike," Duka said, "you know that through the years, on the field or in life, he has selflessly done anything for everybody."

            Svanson called the induction an honor for not just himself but for his coaches and teammates.

            "It's about we, the people who made us who we are today," Svanson said in his remarks, before thanking his family and parents specifically for their support.

            "I've always bled blue and gold," Svanson said in an interview after the ceremony. "I've always loved our school."

            Svanson was a member of the 1983 BuxMont and 1985 Perkiomen Post 184 Legion Championship baseball teams. In basketball, he was the starting guard and assist leader on the 1985 team that won 19 games, and advanced to the District 1 semi-final game. In football he was selected to the Montgomery County All-Star Football Game at linebacker in 1984-85.

            Svanson's baseball career at Villanova, where he earned a bachelor's degree, was highlighted by an All-Big East selection at catcher, being named captain, and the team going 42-13 in 1989 and making the NCAA Tournament.

            After college, Svanson coached for many years at Ursinus and later Upper Perk. He has been an integral part of the Valley's Little League and wrestling community programs.

            As for the present, the Outstanding Athlete awards went to Branden Rozanski and Sarah Fisher.

            Rozanski made his name in wrestling with 117 career wins and three appearances at States. He was the wrestling MVP. Rozanski was also a golfer who made the All Pioneer Athletic Conference Second Team and golf's All-Academic team.

            Fisher set the girls soccer program's records for most goals (76), assists (47) and total points (199) and earned All-State as a sophomore. She was soccer's MVP this season and First Team All PAC Frontier Division and earned a PAC Citizen Award. Fisher played lacrosse in her senior year.

            The All-Around Athlete awards were given to Branden Rieg and Elizabeth Proctor.

            Rieg made baseball's First Team All PAC Frontier Division as a pitcher and was baseball's MVP this season. He also golfed and played basketball.

            Proctor was Second Team All PAC Frontier in soccer, an All-Academic selection in soccer, and the recipient of the Valley Soccer Award. Like Fisher, she was a member of the 2022 soccer team that played in the state title game. Proctor pitched and played short and third for the softball team.

            Notable multiple award-winning seniors included Kaylyn Adair (Girls Wrestling MVP, Joe Ricapito Memorial Award, Pride of the Diamond Softball Award), Abigail Davidheiser (MVP Girls' Lacrosse, The Reeder Athletic Award, PAC All-Academic Team Volleyball, PAC All-Academic Team Girls' Basketball), Lauren Donahue (Lori Moll Memorial Award, PAC All-Academic Team Cross Country), Darby Gasda (Jim "Chief" McFadden Award, Pride of the Diamond Youth Softball Award, PAC Citizen Award, PAC All-Academic Team Softball), Brandon Godshall (Terry Fetterman Memorial Award, PAC All-Academic Team Wrestling, PAC All-Academic Team Baseball), and Andrew Kelly (Ralph W. Engle Memorial Award, PAC All-Academic Team Swimming).


 

 

 

 

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