Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Chevy Chase fifth-grader wins a gold medal in snowboarding

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Photo courtesy of Donna Ruginski.
Ten-year-old Collin Ruginski jumps while snowboarding this year. He won a gold medal and national title in the 9-10 division at the Nature Valley NASTAR National Championship last month.
Collin Ruginski, 10, of Chevy Chase, a fifth-grader at Grace Episcopal School in Kensington, was a Gold Medal and National Title winner in the 9-10 Snowboarding Division at the Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships last month at Steamboat Ski Resort in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

This is the second consecutive year that Collin has claimed the National Title in this event. More than 1,300 of the nation’s top amateur ski and snowboard racers competed.

The Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships is the culmination of a season-long race program with competitors from 44 states and from as far away as Canada and Australia.

Collin has been snowboarding for five years but has been on the slopes since his mom, Donna, a ski instructor, started him skiing at 18 months old.

‘‘When I was a little kid I was skiing and I saw another little kid snowboarding and I wanted to try it,” he said. ‘‘It looked fun and it looked new and I like to try new things.”

He spends just about every weekend from the end of November through April practicing with his snowboarding team or competing.

But Collin said he enjoys it.

‘‘It’s a different feeling,” he said. ‘‘It’s very exhilarating and it’s fun to be with my friends snowboarding all weekend.”

Earlier this month, Collin went on to compete in the 18th USASA National Championships at Northstar Resort in North Lake Tahoe, Calif.

The United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) National Championships is the world’s largest snowboarding event with more than 1,200 top amateur snowboarders and Olympic hopefuls from across the United States and Canada.

Athletes compete in a weeklong competition in five snowboard and skiing events. Collin qualified for this grand finale of snowboarding events by winning Gold at all local USASA Regional Mason-Dixon Series competitions held at the Wisp, Snowshoe, W.Va. and Seven Springs, Pa. ski resorts. Collin had an impressive performance at National’s finishing 20th in Slopestyle, 21st in Giant Slalom, 33rd in Slalom and 38th in the Boardercross events.

Collin’s accomplishments for the season also include Gold medals in the 9-10 Snowboard Division for the DCWST Invitational, Wisp Cup and Maryland Governor’s Cup. He was also awarded the 2007 Junior Maryland Governor’s Cup for Snowboarding.

Collin said he hopes to become a snowboarding instructor out West.

His dad, Wayne, said Collin is his hero.

‘‘I really admire the fact that he’s a young boy and he’s really working hard at achieving his goals and objectives,” he said. ‘‘He’s stuck with it, he’s achieved national status and he just has a really positive attitude.”

Rescue Squad launches recruiting drive

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, one of the nation’s most advanced and best trained rescue squads, is launching a membership drive to recruit new volunteer members.

BCCRS invites men and women 16 years or older who want to experience the excitement of responding to emergency calls and serving the community to volunteer a minimum of one night a week as Emergency Medical Technicians, paramedics, firefighters and administrative members.

The Rescue Squad has an extremely diverse membership that includes people of all ages, cultural backgrounds and professions.

Applicants need no prior experience or training to join the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. Prospective EMTs, paramedics and firefighters receive free, professional training at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy, leading to state certification, as well as annual physicals. Members have opportunities to receive further specialized training in such areas as swift-water rescue, rope rescue, and confined space rescue. Administrative members assist with dispatching apparatus, fundraising, public relations and other important tasks.

For information on volunteering, call the membership hotline at 301-657-5557, e-mail, or visit

Paws in the Park brings pets out to Wheaton

Walk the trails of Wheaton Regional Park with your furry friend on Sunday and help the homeless animals of the Montgomery County Humane Society during the ninth annual Paws in the Park event.

The event includes a 1K, 3K and 5K pet walk for animals big, medium and small, but you don’t need a pet to participate. Check in starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday with the walk starting at 10 a.m. in the park, 11751 Orebaugh Ave., Wheaton. Registration is $15 for participants 12 and younger, $30 for over 12 and $50 for a team registration. Sign up online at

There will be prizes for those who secure the most pledges.

There will also be activities for pets and people, including a canine good citizen test, kids crafts table, scavenger hunt, touch therapy, animal related vendors and dog obedience demos.

For more information, call 240-453-9404 or e-mail

This column is for you. Share your good news! Feel free to send press releases and news tips. Contact Stephanie Siegel via e-mail at, phone at 301-280-3006, fax at 301-670-7183, or snail mail at 1200 Quince Orchard Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD 20878.