INDIANAPOLIS — Only a handful of wrestlers in the state of Indiana get to end their season with a win.
Two of those reside in Monroe County.
Bloomington South’s Tristan Ruhlman and Edgewood’s Cash Turner each shook off losses early on Saturday to finish with a flourish and place in the state wrestling finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Ruhlman began the day with a 13-7 loss to Garrett’s Clayton Fielden in the 170-pound quarterfinals but turned things around big-time in his first consolation match.
Wrestling against Evansville Mater Dei’s Gabe Sollars, who handed Ruhlman a defeat in last week’s semistate semifinals, the Panther junior not only beat but pinned in 2:48 a wrestler South coach Mike Runyon labeled as Ruhlman’s nemesis.
But the work wasn’t done there. Ruhlman went up against Indianapolis North Central’s Bradley Harrington for fifth place and emerged with a narrow 3-1 decision.
It was a similar story for the Mustangs’ Turner at 106, dropping an 8-0 major decision to Roncalli’s Bryce Lowery in the quarterfinals.
“Cash wrestled Lowery hard but he gave up one move twice, and scored six of the eight points on that,” Edgewood coach Greg Ratliff said.
He then also drew an opponent who handed him a loss at semistate in Evansville Memorial’s Kyler West.
However, West emerged victorious by decision again, 4-0, leaving Turner one more chance to go out on a high note in the seventh-place match.
Turner made the most of the opportunity, pinning Ritter’s Joshua Johnson in 4:29.
“Johnson is a scrappy wrestler, a similar style to Cash, but Cash was strong,” Ratliff said. “He looked a lot better this afternoon than at 9:30 in the morning.”
As a result, Turner could perhaps take consolation in the fact that four of his five losses on the season came to those who finished ahead of him in the top five at state.
“It’s an accomplishment for him as a freshman,” Ratliff said. “We’ve never had a freshman make it to state before, let alone place.”
“He thought he could win those first two matches, so he was a little frustrated, but it was good to finish with a win. Finishing with a win is how you want to go out.”