METHUEN — Ruddy Severino often reflects on his childhood, running barefood through the streets of the Dominican Republic.
“I still have scars on my legs from when we would fall on the gravel roads,” he said, gesturing to his knees. “We would try to take these steep turns and crash.”
It has been quite a journey for Severino, from his youth in the Dominican, to the streets of New Jersey before moving first to Lawrence then settling in Methuen.
But he has not only made the city home, but he has emerged as an MVC champion and crucial leader for the Methuen High track team.
“Ruddy has been such a pleasure to coach over the last four seasons,” said Rangers coach Roger Fuller. “He is not afraid to go after any race that we ask him to run, from the 55 and 100 to even the 800, and he is a leader that our athletes have looked up to since he was a freshman. He approaches track and school with true dedication.”
Severino spent the early years of his life living in the Dominican Republic town of Bonao with his mother and two brothers, future Lawrence High track star and Eagle-Tribune All-Star Kelvin and current Methuen High junior Ricky.
“I was very young, but the DR is completely different from here,” he said. “There is so much more freedom, which can a lot of times be a bad thing. We always used to race around the neighborhood and that’s when I started to realize I was fast. But there really weren’t opportunities to play sports.”
At 5-years-old, after his father had settled in America, Ruddy and Kelvin moved to live with him in Hackensack, N.J. But transition proved very difficult.
“We lived in a very bad neighborhood,” said Ruddy. “Hackensack is right outside of Patterson (N.J.), which is one of the toughest cities in New Jersey. We lived in the projects. It was rough. There was a lot of bullying and a lot of gang affiliations. It was very hard to concentrate on school or really any activities.