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With 184 title at 2014 NCAAs, Ed Ruth now Penn State’s first three-time champ

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By winning the 184-pound title at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City Saturday night, Edward Ruth closed out his career at Penn State on a high note… as the first three-time NCAA champ in program history.

Sweeter still, Ruth did it after a rugged year that saw his first loss since he was a freshman, and a 30-day suspension for a DUI incident in State College last November.

The Harrisburg, Pa. native put all that behind him, avenging that January Southern Scuffle loss to Cornell’s Gabe Dean in this year’s NCAA semifinals, and participating in a first-time offender program with no jail time.

Not to mention winning his last match wearing the blue-and-white.

The second-seeded Ruth defeated top-seeded Jimmy Sheptock of Maryland, 7-2, to successfully defend his 184-pound title which he won by defeating Lehigh’s Robert Hamlin, 12-4, at the 2013 NCAAs. The year before, Ruth won the 174-pound 2012 NCAA championship by beating Stanford senior Nick Amuchastegui, 13-4.

Sheptock was the first NCAA finalist for the Terps since 1969. This was the fourth meeting between “Headlock” Sheptock and Ruth, feared for his cradle that has ended many matches with a fall. The Terp is now 0-4 against Ruth.

Ruth wasn’t the only Penn State senior to win a title in Oklahoma City, as David Taylor won the 165-pound crown.

How Ruth (34-1 this season before NCAAs) got to the finals: Rd. 1: pinned unseeded Jackson Hein (Wisconsin), 1:59; Rd. 2: tech fall unseeded Lazarus Reyes (Illinois), 15-0; Qtrfinals: maj. dec. No. 7 seed Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota), 10-2; Semifinals: dec. No. 3 Gabe Dean (Cornell), 5-3.

How Sheptock (32-1) got to the finals: Rd. 1: dec. unseeded Benjamin Stroh (Wyoming), 10-3; Rd. 2: dec. unseeded Devin Hightower (Air Force), 4-0; Qtrfinals: dec. unseeded Blake Stauffer (Arizona State), 6-2; Semifinals: dec. No. 13 Jack Dechow (Old Dominion), 3-2.

Finals action:

  • 1st Period: Ruth scores a quick takedown; Sheptock escapes almost immediately. The Penn State champ followed up with a second takedown to make the score 4-1 Ruth.
  • 2nd Period: Sheptock takes down, but is unable to escape. No scoring. Score remains 4-1 Ruth.
  • 3rd Period: Ruth takes down, reverses Sheptock, then cuts him lose, making the score 6-2 Ruth. With riding time, Ruth wins, 7-2, to win his third consecutive title… and a place in the Penn State history books.

Quotes from the champ:

  • On what it means to be first three-time champ: “It’s big, because there’s lots of respectable wrestlers come through Penn State. I see them every time I go in. I go, like, wow. Just makes be proud to be one of these guys.”
  • On hearing “Headlock Sheptock” chant: “I hear ‘Ruth’ all the time then I hear ‘Headlock Sheptock.’ And that feeds to egg the match on. Anybody can feed off it. Either you or the opponent.”
  • Match plans: “Going out there, I never have a game plan… The first thing I’m thinking about is taking 10, 20 shots. So I get to his legs, because in my head I don’t believe that people can set me off. I’m taking shots, I like to believe I can always get the leg, and that keeps me pushing for the next shot, the next shot after that, and eventually, hopefully, I’ll get him.”
  • Next plans: “Only thing now is to see how recovery goes. But I’m leaning towards freestyle, chasing after an Olympic, freestyle career, just to see how far I can take it.”

2014 NCAA All-Americans – 184 pounds

  1. Ed Ruth (Penn State)
  2. Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland)
  3. Gabe Dean (Cornell)
  4. Jack Dechow (Old Dominion)
  5. Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota)
  6. Lorenzo Thomas (Penn)
  7. Jake Swartz (Boise State)
  8. Ophir Bernstein (Brown)

Take a look back: For all College Wrestling Examiner articles on the 2014 NCAAs, click here... and check out Mat Bracketology, College Wrestling Examiner's weight-by-weight analysis of seeded wrestlers, by clicking on the Mat Bracketology link.

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