MADISON, Wisc. — Ed Ruth won nearly everything there was to win during his collegiate wrestling years at Penn State.
On Sunday, Penn State’s only three-time NCAA champion accomplished a career first competing for the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club. Ruth earned a spot on the U.S. World Team after winning the 86-kilogram finals at the World Team Trials at the Alliant Energy Center.
Ruth won the challenge tournament and advanced to the finals where he beat Keith Gavin in a best-of-three matchup.
Gavin — who won the the last three U.S. Opens and was the reigning World Team Trials champion at the weight — came back from an early deficit to hand Ruth a 7-5 loss in Round 1. But Ruth pushed the pace in the next two rounds. He countered a gut-wrench try from Gavin and pinned the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club star in 3:44 to force a winner-take-all Round 3. There, Ruth set the pace and pulled away for an 11-7 win.
Ruth went 3-0 and dominated his way through the challenge tournament earlier on Sunday. He beat former Lehigh star Robert Hamlin by technical fall 13-3 and added a 14-4 technical fall over Titan Mercury’s Phil Keddy in the semifinals. Ruth beat Clayton Foster, the U.S. Open runner-up 7-3 in the challenge tournament finals.
By beating Gavin, Ruth guaranteed himself the spot at 86 kilograms for the World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on September 8-14.
Ruth’s NLWC teammate David Taylor came up short in his bid to lock up a spot on the World Team.
Taylor won the challenge tournament at 74 kilograms. He beat former N.C. State wrestler Quinton Godley by technical fall 10-0 and then beat former Oklahoma All-American Andrew Howe 3-1 in the challenge tournament finals.
But reigning Olympic gold medalist and three-time World champion Jordan Burroughs (Sunkist Kids) swept Taylor 6-2, 6-5 to retain his World team spot.
Frank Molinaro turned in a third-place finish for the NLWC at 65 kilograms. Molinaro beat Reece Humphrey 7-2 in the third-place match.
Penn State assistant coach Nick Fanthorpe competed at the same weight and went 2-1 before losing to Molinaro 6-4 in the challenge tournament.
Quentin Wright went 0-2 at 86 kilograms.