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Ruthie Wehrung excelling with Central Bucks Gymnastics and Dance


When the Wehrungs moved from Spearfish, S.D., to Upper Black Eddy, they had to keep one thing in mind – gymnastics.

Ruthie Wehrung, 14 years old and the third child of seven, has been excelling at gymnastics since the age of 3 when her father, Jeff Wehrung, an associate dean of the College of Business at Kutztown University and part of the Wehrung family that owns Wehrung’s Lumber and Home Center in Ottsville, came home with a free coupon for preschool gymnastics.

The coaches spotted her talents early, and she was quickly in preteens at the age of 5, which is a young start for many girls. In that time, her passion for the sport grew, and she was brought on to the Spearfish Gymnastics Academy competition team at the age of 6, which is the minimum age a kid can join.

Her love for gymnastics sparked in Spearfish, but some familiarity in Bucks County, thanks to her family roots – Jeff and Kim Wehrung, Ruthie’s mother, are originally from Bucks County – made her decision on where to train easy once the family moved back.

“In 2016, we visited Pennsylvania for an eight-month period and during that time I was practicing at Central Bucks Gymnastics (and Dance),” Ruthie said. “We fell in love with the coaching staff here, so moving back here, we pretty much instantly knew I was going to go back and continue going to Central Bucks.”

Following the family’s move back to Bucks County, Ruthie assiduously trained at Central Bucks. Her hard work recently culminated in an all around second-place finish in her age group at nationals, held at the Oklahoma City Convention Center in Oklahoma this past May. Paving the way to her impressive finish was her first-place finish in the floor routine, which was given a 9.7 score. Her other scores (vault - 9.6, bars - 9.45 and beam - 9.4) also played a pivotal role.

“That was my third time competing at nationals, so every time I was getting closer and closer to those top spots,” Ruthie said. “When I finally got second place all around and won floor, it was kind of like ‘Oh, I finally did it, I made the top spots.’ Being on that podium with a whole bunch of girls I met years ago, and we’ve finally made it to where we wanted to be, it was an out of body experience. It didn’t feel real.”

“Watching her win floor at nationals was pretty unreal,” Kim Wehrung said.

For her floor routine, she competed a two-pass routine, which is a new rule the USAG added that prevents a routine from filling up on dance elements.

“That really helped me this year,” Ruthie said. “I had that opportunity to make sure those two passes were very clean and that there wouldn’t be much deduction they (the judges) could find in those.”

Following the crux of her young career, which was the all around second-place finish, Ruthie was plagued by multiple injuries, some still nagging her on the brink of major events for the 2024 season.

In early August, just three months subsequent to nationals, she had meniscus repair surgery. The procedure completely sidelined her from training for three to four weeks. She then began developing shin splints, which was followed by a rib injury she suffered training.

“It was skill on beam that I just landed wrong on my hands and fell off the beam,” Ruthie said. “I didn’t actually hit the beam, but the way I landed on my hands it crushed my two floating ribs into a weird place.”

She knows her career is young, and for her, ensuring her body heals properly while injured is paramount.

“During injuries, it’s a good time to make sure the rest of your body is intact,” Ruthie said. “To make sure you do your physical therapy for your ankles, make sure my knees are still good [and] just make sure everything is strong enough for this season.”

Nationals will always be the goal for her, but because of these injuries, she’s tampering her expectations for the upcoming season.

“Of course it would be the dream to win nationals and all around, but especially this beginning season being full of minor injuries, I want to make sure I’m confident in my routines and be safe to compete,” she said.

As a freshman in high school, homeschooled by her mother, Ruthie understands that the longevity of her career is what matters, not one possible down season.

“It’s something we talk about in terms of her long-term goals of going to NCAA, and recognizing that she still has eight years,” Kim Wehrung said.

Ruthie’s perseverance, grit and dedication to her craft, demonstrated through training and mentally while dealing with these injuries, have been an example at home for her siblings. And for her mom, Kim is moved by watching Ruthie’s growing career unfold.

“Gymnastics is interesting because it teaches you so much self-discipline and grit,” Kim Wehrung said. “It’s inspirational how much she is able to really put the effort in and see the results. It’s been really great for the other kids to have that example of not giving up.”

The upcoming season is still important, but Ruthie is taking her time. She knows what’s at stake, and she’s staying at her own pace, remaining focused on the future.

With her healing progressing, she’s hoping to be fully healthy so that she can compete in all four events at the Legacy Invitational on Feb. 3.

“I want to feel confident in the way I do things, and do the best I can in the situation I am given. I don’t think it’s going to be the most incredible year, but I’ll put in the work and see how far it will bring me,” she said.

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