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South's Tristan Ruhlman with 3rd regional wrestling title

By Jim Gordillo, 02/06/21, 9:00PM EST


Tristan Ruhlman stepped on to the mat for the fifth time this season against Terre Haute South’s Josh Howell, and for the fourth time with a title on the line.

The Bloomington South senior, undefeated and ranked second at 220 pounds, had no reason to think about changing his approach and no time to be complacent.

That doesn’t leave many openings and Howell has yet to find one, pinned by the Panther for the fourth straight time in the championship match of the Bloomington South wrestling regional on Saturday.

“Every time Howell tries something new,” South coach Mike Runyon said. “And that’s the danger of wrestling someone that many times. But Tristan’s adjusted to everything he’s tried and it’s come out the same every time.”

Ruhlman was one of two Panthers to take the top prize, with Cade Meier reversing a loss to Edgewood’s Lane Deckard at 132. Edgewood’s lone champ was sophomore Cash Turner at 126. In all, nine county athletes moved on to the Jasper Semistate next weekend with the trio joined by South’s Miles Libby (113), Delaney Ruhlman (138), Aiden Reynolds (145) and Tuff Fender (170) and Bloomington North’s Chase Hostetler.

Floyd Central won the team title (its first since 2013) with 153½ points, while Tell City had 110 and South 88½.

Ruhlman (19-0) has cut his workload against Howell from 3:30 at the Conference Indiana meet, to 2:00 last week to just 1:14 this time. Whatever new wrinkles Howell might be throwing at him, Ruhlman irons them out in a snap.

“I know he’s a good wrestler, a quality guy,” Ruhlman said. “And so far, what I’ve doing is staying consistent and keeping my shots clean and clear and crisp. Being consistent is the biggest thing. I haven’t had to change anything. Don’t fix what’s not broken.

“You just have to be you on the mat. You can’t let anybody change that.”

That said, his change from a 170-pounder to 220 is working out quite well.

“I’m still loosing a little bit of weight but it’s not as bad as it was in previous years,” Ruhlman said. “So I’m really loving being 220. I feel better. Obviously I’m bigger but overall I feel stronger.”

Meier is just feeling on Cloud 9.

A state qualifier as a sophomore before missing the last half of last season, he had a pair of pins to set up a rematch with Deckard, then won his first postseason title, getting Deckard (29-3) down early and pulling out a 6-0 win.

“I’m feeling great because I kept what I was thinking, what I was feeling, that no one could stop me, and I really came back and made a big improvement compared to last weekend,” Meier said.

Meier struck first, with six seconds left in the first and tacked on two more points in the second.

“I knew that I had to stop his shot and be the first one to score in the match, be that in the first, second or third period. Once I did that, I felt like it was easy riding from there.”

“I think he was mentally more prepared this week,” Runyon said.

Deckard was stinging, but will be tough to deal with again next week.

“Cade picked good time to have his best match among the three of them,” Edgewood coach Greg Ratliff said. “Whichever one has gotten the first takedown has been in position to win. And we’ve had trouble getting off bottom with him, which proved to be an issue today.

“But Lane is as good as anybody down there. He’ll be bad draw for somebody.”

Delaney Ruhlman (24-1), ranked second at 138, opened with two pins, the second of just 18 seconds, but then ran into fourth-ranked Floyd Central’s Gavinn Alstott, a two-time state qualifier whose only losses are to No. 3 Blake Boarman of Mater Dei.

Ruhlman scored the first points, but Alstott countered and it stayed 2-2 going to the third. Ruhlman got a free escape and Alstott took advantage with a takedown with 42 seconds left in the 4-3 win.

“In the third period, I felt like I wasn’t aggressive enough,” Ruhlman said. “And I took a sloppy shot, which led to him taking me down and me not being able to escape from bottom.”

“We’ll see Monday morning how he reacts,” Runyon said. “Maybe he’ll get on the same kick Cade’s on right now and picks his game up in the room.”

Edgewood’s Turner (29-3) won his opener but then had to battle to a 3-1 win over New Albany’s Paul King in the semifinals. It was scoreless going to the third where he got a nearfall with a minute to go and hung on.

“We thought when Cash got on top, that was the match,” Ratliff said. “He’s dominant on top and luckily for us they chose bottom. That made it easy for us. You could see the look in his eye that was all he needed was for them to chose bottom.”

Then he crushed Terre Haute South’s Harrison May, 13-0, a week after pinning him in the final seconds of a close match.

“He’s in a place right now, where he’s feeling confident,” Ratliff said.

North’s Hostetler (19-4) took a tough pin of just 51 seconds against Floyd Central’s fifth-ranked J Conway, but took care of New Albany’s Jaden Grant in 3:19 to finish third and earn his first trip to semistate.

“He wrestled really well,” North coach Ben Farmer said. “He was happy able to make it and to be in a situation to get the best spot that he could down there.

“He was the only one of our sectional (at 152) to make it through,”

Libby (17-8) bounced back from a pin in the semis to take care of West Vigo’s Torie Buchanan, 5-0, for third.

Reynolds (19-5) fell to fourth at 145, forced to default his final match after being choked unconscious during a pin in the semifinals, leaving him unable medically to compete further on the day. He had a pin in his opener.

Fender (16-9) was pinned in the semifinals and took another of 2:31 in the third place match to Nigel Kaiser of Tell City (24-5).


Floyd Central;153½

Tell City;110

Bloomington South;88½

Terre Haute South;79


Owen Valley;57



Terre Haute North;35

West Vigo;35

Indian Creek;30


Bedford North Lawrence;13

Forest Park;13

New Albany;13

Bloomington North;12

North Knox;8

Top 4 in each weight class advance to Jasper Semistate

106: Rollin Douglas, FC, p. Rylie Austin, Edg (13-13), :39. FINALS: Hayden Tipton, THN (22-11) p. Cody Brames, FP (23-5), 3:19 (third); Jackson Heaston, IC (23-3) p. Douglas, FC (18-7), 2:43 (first).

113: Miles Libby, BS, d. Jayden Fogle, Srdg, 4-0; Jainier Milanes, Jas, p. Libby, BS, 1:22. FINALS: Libby, BS (17-8), d. Torie Buchanan, WV (16-7), 5-0 (third); Coy Hammack, TC (28-0), d. Milanes, Jas (20-3), 8-1 (first).

120: Travis Haug, FP, md. Aiden Gann, BS (17-6), 11-1. FINALS: Lou Knable, FC (18-6) d. Haug, FP (20-4), 3-0 (third); Lane Gilbert, Sul (23-0), d. Kelby Glenn, TC (26-2), 10-5 (first).

126: Cash Turner, Edg, p. Isaac Fuhrman, FP, 2:44; Turner, Edg, d. Paul King, NA, 3-1. FINALS: Brayden Lain, TC (25-4), by inj default over King, NA (25-4) (third); Turner, Edg (29-3), md. Harrison May,  THS (19-9), 13-0 (first). 

132: Cade Meier, BS, p. Dyan Niehaus, FP, 1:26; Lane Deckard, Edg, p. Logan Schroeder, NA, 5:45; Meier, p. Jake Happel, FC, 3:36; Deckard, Edg, md. Cayden Andrews, Srdg, 16-3. FINALS: Andrews, Srdg (23-6) by forfeit over Happel, FC (16-10) (third); Meier, BS (22-3) d. Deckard, Edg (29-3), 6-0 (first). 

138: Delaney Ruhlman, BS, p. Cale Schmitt, Jas, 4:31; Ruhlman, BS, p. Jackson Neibert, IC, :18. FINALS: Tanner Kane, Srdg (20-3) tf. Neibert, IC, 15-0 (third); Gavinn Alstott, FC (22-2) d. Ruhlman, BS (24-1), 4-3 (first).

145: Aiden Reynolds, BS, p. Carson Niehaus, Srdg, 3:14; Tyce DuPont, TC, p. Reynolds, :33. FINALS: Johnathan Otte, WV (18-3) by injury default over Reynolds, BS (19-5) (third); Hunter May, FC) p. DuPont, TC (26-3), :59 (first).

152: J Conway, FC, tf. Cade Bengtson, BS (6-5), 25-7; Chase Hostetler, BN, md. Shane Braunecker, TC, 22-6; Conway, FC, p. Hostetler, BN, :51. FINALS: Hostetler, BN (19-4), p. Jaden Grant, NA (19-6), 3:19 (third); Conway, FC (23-0) md. Jeb Prechtel, Jas (14-3), 22-8 (first).

160: Corey Braunecker, TC, p. Ryan Younger, BS (15-11), 1:04. FINALS: Nate Lommock, THS (23-4) p. Braunecker, TC (27-2), 1:43 (third); Bray Emerine, FC (18-8), d. Jarell Sholar, WV (18-3), 3-2 (first).

170: Nigel Kaiser, TC, p. Daniel Wilson, Edg (14-11), 1:54; Tuff Fender, BS, tf. Cameron Weisheit, Jas, 17-2; Codei Khawaja, FC, p. Fender, BS, 3:41. FINALS: Kaiser, TC (24-5) p. Fender, BS (16-9), 2:31 (third); Khawaja, FC (22-1) d. Sammy Saunders, THN (29-3), 11-4 (first).

182: Reid Schroeder, Srdg p. Logan Anderson, Edg (15-13), 5:10. FINALS: Jase Robinson, FC (17-10) d. Gabe Bignell, THN (22-7), 6-4 (third); Jerry McBee, OV (20-3) d. Schroeder, Srdg (19-2), 8-5 (first).

195: Ross Wilgus, TC, p. Reece Novak, Edg (17-11), 2:31. FINALS: Eli Hinshaw, OV (24-6), p.  Wilgus, TC (12-13), 1:33 (third); Nick Casad, THS (24-3), p. Ashton Schuetter, Jas (18-1), 4:00 (first).

220: James Covey, BNL, p. Marley Klick, Edg (15-12), :53; Tristan Ruhlman, BS, p. Jackson Early, FC, :30; Ruhlman, BS, by injury default over Beau Noland, NK. FINALS: Covey, BNL (27-4) by injury default over Noland, NK (27-4) (third); Ruhlman, BS (19-0), p. Josh Howell, THS (21-6), 1:14 (first).

285: Chance Bolin, TC, p. Aiden Akers, BS (11-9), :50. Quade Popp, Jas, p. Chris Davis, Edg (22-11), 1:06. FINALS: Bolin, TC (23-6) p. Christian Verst, THS (19-5), 2:31 (third); Logan McGraw, OV (20-0) p. Popp, Jas (15-5), 1:52 (first).