Dual-sport Demons athlete Abby Scruton inks to dive, play soccer for St. Francis Terriers
Whether she’s diving to save goals on the soccer field, or doing a twisting dive into the pool from the spring board, Glenwood Springs High School senior Abby Scruton has been turning heads for several years now.
After graduation this spring, she’ll be taking her talents to the Division I collegiate level, having signed on to compete in both sports at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York City.
Scruton is the starting goal keeper for the GSHS Lady Demons soccer team this spring, and took fourth place in the 1-meter diving competition at the 3A state swimming and diving championships in March.
After losing the 2020 spring soccer season to the COVID-19 shutdowns, Scuton said she wasn’t sure if it was going to come together for her to play college soccer.
But, after agreeing to dive for St. Francis earlier this year, she spoke with the respective coaches about doubling up and doing both sports, soccer in the fall and diving in the spring.
“Once I was able to commit to both, it really made me want to go there,” Scruton said. “I knew I wanted to be right in the city, and when my dad (Mark Scruton) and I visited St. Francis I really liked it.”
Scruton said she is leaning toward studying business, and is looking forward to the international flavor of a big-city college.
Soccer had always been Scruton’s first sport, in which she often played alongside her older sister, Celia, who signed to play this year for Evergreen in Washington state.
“Diving really only started for me as a freshman,” she said. “I never really thought about it until I went to a camp with my teammate (Libby Claassen) and I said, ’OK, I can do this.’”
It was Claassen’s mother, former collegiate diver Lara Claassen, who had the dream of starting a dive team as part of the GSHS girls swimming team four year ago when her daughter and Scruton were starting high school.
It doesn’t surprise her at all that Scruton is taking it to the next level.
“She used to be a gymnast, which is a nice foundation to work from,” coach Claassen said. “From the get-go, she just had a natural love of diving. To go into a program where she can train year-round, it will be fun to see how far she can take it.”
In an odd way, diving can be good cross-training for soccer goal-keeping, Claassen said.
“Diving creates a tremendous sense of foot strength, balance and body awareness, and I think when she started diving it only improved her soccer,” she said.
Longtime Glenwood Springs youth soccer coach Ben Peery, who coached Scruton as part of a state traveling team when she was younger, would agree.
“She’s just fearless, and one of the most courageous goal keepers I’ve ever seen … very agile, and quick,” he said. “Warrior is a word that gets used a lot, but she really is that kind of player. She’s like a bouncing flea out there, and will sacrifice herself to make these ridiculous saves.”
Scruton recalled that she was trying out for the girls basketball team her freshman year, when the Claassens talked her into taking up diving instead.
“It was a really good choice,” Scruton said.
She said she looks forward to adding the 3-meter springboard to her diving repertoire in college.
Both Abby and Celia Scruton were on the Demons dive team in winter 2020 along with Claassen and Juliet McGill; a season in which they enjoyed unprecedented success. Then came the pandemic and the lost soccer season, which was to be the last for the Scruton sisters to play together as high school teammates.
That was tough, she said. But she’s thrilled to be back on the field this season with fellow senior teammates Maddie Moser, Maya Elias and Tatum Lilly.
“I really want to help the underclassmen build the team back into that position we used to be in, where we were making it to the playoffs every year,” she said. “That’s been a lot of my motivation this season.”
After the season, Scruton said she looks forward to training over the summer with her sister.
Collegiate level soccer and diving will require a lot of focus and determination, she acknowledges.
“I know I’m going to have to work really hard in the summer … just to better my skills, because it’s a different level. I want to be able to go in ready,” she said.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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