About this series
Coming up with a short list and then ranking the 10 greatest athletes in the history of each YAIAA high school was a daunting task. For sure, there is no scientific approach. But after two years of interviews, research and roundtable discussions, we are presenting as fair an attempt as possible to create an objective list on a decidedly subjective topic.
OUR CRITERIA: 1. The only accomplishments considered were those achieved while competing in high school varsity athletics. If an athlete earned a college scholarship, that was also factored in. 2. Accomplishments outside the setting of high school varsity sports and accomplishments after high school were not taken into account. 3. Athletes who attended more than one local high school were only evaluated at the school where they had the most varsity success. 4. Female athletes were rated by how they dominated their own sports not how they would fare going head-to-head against male athletes.

Your turn
If you d like to comment or offer a differing opinion on this list, we d love to hear from you. Each Sunday, we ll present your feedback on opinions on page 2 of the York Sunday News sports section - The Rundown. E-mail your thoughts to Sports Editor Chris Otto at cotto@ydr.com or mail them to: Greatest Athletes, c/o Chris Otto, 1891 Loucks Road, York 17408.

Read more
Check out the full series

It's difficult keeping up with Ruth Loyer.

She's still running, like she did so well at Red Lion High when she graduated in 2001.

But there's so much more.

She plays the viola. She's a substitute church organist. She runs marathons. She works as a radiation oncology nurse.

She's also planning to become a deacon in the United Methodist Church, hoping to combine her nursing and ministry one day.

Soon, she will start studying to become a family nurse practitioner, too.

And she even finds time to sing in the Duke University chapel choir.

She's only 25.

"She seems to have an unlimited amount of energy. Downtime is just something foreign to her," said her father Jim Loyer. "She was always going from one thing to the next. She's thrived (on that)."

At Red Lion, she was a star basketball player, one of the all-around greats in school history. But she might have been even better in track and field.

She specialized in distance, winning league and district titles in the 800 and 1600 meters and was a leader on the cross country team. She earned a track and field scholarship to William and Mary College.

"She just never, ever missed a workout. Ever," said Marv Berkowitz, her track coach in high school. "She always had a purpose and a goal."

Injuries slowed her college career, but she's running now even more, even longer. Last year she chewed up 40 to 60 miles a week while training for the Boston Marathon, her third marathon.

"Running is a hobby for me now and I love saying that because in college it was a job. Whenever money is involved it's more of a stress and it takes away from the enjoyment because it's an obligation."

She's still finding the time and motivation to run 20 to 30 miles a week, even after being on her feet for long shifts at the hospital. Even with practicing her viola to play for the Durham Symphony Orchestra.

She works, then runs, then plays music.

Then sleeps.


At work, "I'm dealing with life and death . . . (and) it's emotionally draining. Sometimes I leave work and I just go home and cry. I feel so bad. I feel like I'm taking work back with me, taking stress and illness off patients back with me. I'm working with how to deal with that in a more productive way."

The diversity, though, is a release while driving her on.

"It keeps me fresh, keeps me happy and keeps me effective in the work that I'm doing," she said.

She worked for two years as an oncology nurse on the bone marrow transplant unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital before moving to North Carolina in August -- still working in oncology at the Duke University Medical Center.

Ruth Loyer
Ruth Loyer, who graduated from Red Lion in 2001, was a standout in basketball and track and field. (Submitted)

Meanwhile, she's also taking divinity classes at Duke, hoping that her future centers around pastoral care and healing, such as visiting the sick and performing funerals.

Through it all, her support comes from her father, a pharmacist, and her mother, a string instrument teacher in Red Lion schools.

And from her brother.

Kenny Loyer also was a basketball star at Red Lion (Class of 1998), scoring 1,478 career points -- second-most by a male in school history.

He was a biblical studies major at Messiah College before earning his master's of divinity degree from Duke. He's now studying for his doctorate in theology at Southern Methodist University.

There's always been a connection between brother and sister.

Go back to when Kenny broke the elementary school cross country record, only to have Ruth came along a few years later and break his.

Now, both are candidates for ordination in the United Methodist Church.

But even big brother knows who is the most driven, the most well-rounded -- the toughest Loyer to keep up with.
fbodani@ydr.com; 771-2104