Emma Ruddle may be a three-time state champion in track and field, but that is only a hobby to her, while basketball is the primary sport for the dual-athlete.

Ruddle, fresh off of competing in the 2019 State Track and Field Championship, led McPherson High School girls track and field team with a first-place victory in the 100 hurdles and two second-place finishes in the 100 meters and 4x100 relay race, where she anchored last weekend at state. As a competitor, it was just another race for the junior sprinter going against the top runners in the state.

"It's always a good feeling to win a state championship," Ruddle said. "It wasn't as great than winning the first one. It wasn't as shocking. It was still a great race, though. All of them are all good, and it was a good competition at state because you know they are always the best."

On May 13, Ruddle dropped the ball when she announced via Twitter that she verbally committed to Fort Hays State for basketball. While it does come as a surprise for most people in Kansas, not for Ruddle, despite receiving college letters that were interested in the future Tiger as a sprinter, she already had her mind made up playing basketball at the college level than pursuing track full-time.

"I had my options narrowed down," Ruddle said. "My summer team—my coach, Keith Furguson, does a great job of recruiting, and I kind of knew early what D-II schools in Kansas I had my eye on. I went on my visits, and it's good to get it done with so I can enjoy my last summer with my team, and have my time for my last summer."

Regardless of what sports she plays, Ruddle is a competitor not only by personality but by trait as well. Ruddle's father, Mike, was a football standout at the tight end position back in his days. While he had the chance of playing division-I football, he bounced around and eventually found his way to playing at McPherson College.

Growing up with athletic genes, Emma Ruddle started getting active in sports. Basketball was her first love. She played during her middle school days. She got into track late in the sixth grade to keep herself busy. It stood by her ever since.

"I think because I came from a small school, you always do all the sports in the athletics," Ruddle said. We had a couple of those track meets. I just went into it in middle school. Then I went to high school with it. It helps me keep me in shape, and it just kept me going."

At the high school level, She has been a two-year starter for the McPherson girls basketball team, leading them to the 2018 Class 4A State Championship, and a fourth-place finish in the Class 5A State Tournament last season. Ruddle is known to be a top-end shooter and a hard-nosed defender. Last season she averaged 8.3 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at pholland@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports