Two-time NCAA wrestling champ Ed Ruth will step onto the mat in his blue-and-white Penn State singlet for the first time in a month this Sunday as his team takes on Ohio State, Nittany Lions head coach Cael Sanderson revealed Wednesday.
Sanderson issued a 30-day suspension of Ruth Nov. 13 for what had been originally announced as breaking team rules. On Dec. 2, State College, Pa. police charged the top-ranked 184-pounder with driving under the influence after allegedly driving his car up onto a curb and striking a tree. Ruth had a blood alcohol content of .281, three times the legal limit in Pennsylvania. He faces a preliminary hearing Jan. 8.
“It felt like a month,’’ Ruth said Wednesday. “To be honest with you, it felt pretty long. At the same time, I wrestled at the beginning of year but I haven’t competed yet, so it’s kind of been a long break.
“This is the start of my season right here.’’
After announcing that Ruth would be returning to the lineup in Sunday’s dual meet with the Buckeyes at Penn State’s Rec Hall, Sanderson said, “It’s been tough for him. It’s his senior year and he’s missed a third of the duals. That’s not easy for him.
“It is what it is and he gets a chance to get out there and get after it. And he gets a big match right away, so it’s a big opportunity for him.’’
That big match for Ruth is against Kenny Courts, like Ruth, a product of the Harrisburg, Pa. area. The Buckeye 184-pounder’s father Kenny, Sr. coached Ruth in youth wrestling.
“It’s nice to see we’re (both) on this level,’’ Ruth said about Courts. “You feel like you come from a good background when you wrestle somebody from the same location.’’
During the suspension, Ruth has traveled with the team, and participated in workouts, but has not competed on the team. However, this past weekend, Ruth won the 184-pound title at the Mat Town Open at Pennsylvania’s Lock Haven University. Competing unattached (without affiliation to Penn State), Ruth had five matches, scoring two falls, a technical fall and two major decisions.
A native of Harrisburg, Pa., Ruth is a three-time NCAA All-American and two-time NCAA champ, winning the 174-pound crown at the 2012 NCAAs by beating Stanford's Nick Amuchastegui, 13-4, in the title bout. The following year, Ruth claimed the title at 184 at the 2013 NCAAs with a 12-4 win over Lehigh's Robert Hamlin in the finals. He is also a two-time Big Ten conference champ. This summer, Ruth was named Penn State Male Athlete of the Year.
Ruth is currently ranked No. 1 at 184 by a number of websites and publications, including InterMat.
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