JASPER — Making it back to the state wrestling meet is a big deal.
Doing so while winning a semistate title made it that much sweeter for Tristan Ruhlman. Bloomington South senior accomplished both of those goals on Saturday at Jasper, beating Terre Haute South’s Josh Howell for the sixth time this season, 7-0, in the finals of the 220-pound weight class.
Ruhlman is the first Panther since Devin Broukal in 2014 to win a semistate title.
Joining him at state are two teammates and one brother, as sophomore Delaney Ruhlman took third at 138 and senior Cade Meier was fourth at 132. Both Ruhlmans made it to state last year after Delaney took second at 120 and Tristan was third at 170, while Meier was a qualifier two years ago, placing fourth at 126.
Edgewood sophomore Cash Turner (126) and senior Lane Deckard (132) won their first-round matches, but were eliminated in the second.
South finished eighth with 50 points.
Tristan Ruhlman, ranked second in the state, compiled just 91 seconds of mat time to secure his state berth, with two first-minute pins to open his day.
In the semifinals, he took down No. 14 Kelton Farmer of Evansville Memorial in 1:16 to set up yet another meeting with Howell. Ruhlman had won all five previous meetings, in a regular season dual as well as title matches at the Columbus East Invitational, Conference Indiana, sectional and regional meets.
The results included 15-4 major and pins of 1:45, 3:30, 2:00 and 1:14. This time, Ruhlman started with an early takedown, then added a reversal in the second period for a 4-0 lead and closed it out.
Delaney Ruhlman, also ranked second, also started off with two pins, of 3:54 and 41 seconds, to clinch his spot. The first one against Diesel Duncan of Ben Davis was a bit tricky. Ruhlman jumped up 6-1 only to see Duncan tie it at 6. Ruhlman rebounded to score the next four points, then end it early.
He too had a rematch on his hands in the semis with No. 3 Blake Boarman of Evansville Mater Dei. Ruhlman earned a major against him in early December, but this time, Boarman was in charge, going up 6-1 in the first. Ruhlman could not quite make up the lost ground, suffering a 10-7 loss.
There were no issues in the third place match, where he handed No. 18 Gavin Garcia of Brownsburg (11-6) a 9-0 major. Boarman (28-1) went on to nip South Regional champ Gavinn Alstott of Floyd Central, 3-2, for the title.
At 132, the 17th ranked Meier (24-5) took care of his first two foes, 8-3 and 8-2, leading just 4-2 going into the third period of his ticket-round match with Braedon Spears of Plainfield.
Then he met No. 4 Kysen Montgomery of Brownsburg in the semis and the Bulldog jumped on him early for leads of 7-1 and 8-2 before claiming a 10-5 win.
In the third place match, Meier had to deal with No. 8 Ben Dalton of Monrovia, who been handed his first loss of the season by top-ranked Alec Freeman of Mater Dei. Dalton beat Meier 6-1, while Montgomery (27-3) edged Freeman, 3-2 for the title.
The state finals will begin much earlier than usual this Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, with the first of two sessions for the lighter weights (106-145) starting at 11 a.m. and the second session at 7 p.m.
The brackets will be announced on IHSAAtv.org at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
At 132, Deckard had a wild day.
In his opener against Jakob Lewellen of Charlestown, Deckard got down 7-0 before scoring 11 of the next 13 points to regain control and finished it off with a pin in 3:50.
“His first round opponent looked dangerous, but the book was, but the time you got to the third, things would open up,” Edgewood coach Greg Ratliff said. “Lane made a mistake early. And he had joked he was going to give him five points to start the match. Then all of a sudden, he’s down 5-0.
“Once he got in the flow, he hit some moves. And Lane can score points in bunches.”
Then Deckard took on Monrovia’s Ben Dalton, who was undefeated and showed why, getting up 4-0 and 7-3 going into the third. But Deckard shockingly came up with two takedowns in the final 20 seconds, around an escape, to send it into OT, 8-8.
“It was what we call a Deckard match,” Ratliff said. “Lane is the most conditioned athletes and he never gives up. It looked grim. He was down 7-4 and not close to scoring a takedown, then he comes up with one with 20 seconds left and another with three seconds left to tie it.”
But Deckard’s luck ran out in OT to lose 12-8.
“I felt like we had the momentum,” Ratliff said. “Lane appeared to get behind him and we called takedown, and the crowd was calling for a takedown. But by the time the official got around, Dalton rolled out of it and ended up on top. I thought we were in a position to score, but that was a good reaction by Dalton.
“It was hard to swallow because Lane is such a great young man. But it was a great match.”
Turner, a state medalist last year at 106, blew through his opener against Mater Dei’s Jacaob Pierre, 9-0, but then found himself faced with the second-ranked wrestler in the state in Brownsburg freshman Brady Ison. Turner got down 6-0 but gave up a nearfall in the third period of a 13-2 major.
“We knew all week with a win we’d get the No. 2 guy in the state,” Ratliff said. “When you win a regional and get Mater Dei and Brownsburg, that’s not a very good draw. But he and Lane had nothing but belief they were going to win semistate championships.
“Cash looked really good in his first match and the game plan was for the same sort of match against Ison, but he’s an explosive athlete. Cash kept it close, then he had to do some things out of character so it ended up looking worse than it was.”
South sophomore Miles Libby (17-9) was pinned in his opener at 113 in 4:52 while junior Aiden Reynolds was pinned in 1:21 at 145 and junior Tuff Fender was pinned in 1:34 at 170.
Bloomington North junior Chase Hostetler also suffered a 14-2 major in his opener at 152.
Top 20 team scores
Evansville Mater Dei 172½
Floyd Central 87
Center Grove 67
Columbus East 60½
Bloomington South 50
North Posey 32
Evansville Memorial 30
Tell City 29½
Terre Haute South 26
27. Edgewood 7
Top 4 in each weight class advance to state finals.
Championship and local matches
106: Evan Seng, EMD (24-1), d. Blake Zirkelbach, NPos, 3-2 (first).
113: Bryson Rowley, Corydon C, p. Miles Libby, BSouth (17-9), 4:52. Reed Egli, EMD (24-2) p. Coy Hammack, Tell City (31-1), 1:03 (first).
120: Lane Gilbert, Sullivan (27-0), d. Cole Ross, EMD (23-2), 7-4 (first).
126: Cash Turner, Edg, md. Jacob Pierre, EMD, 9-0; Brady Ison, Brwnbg, md. Turner (30-4), 13-2. Ison, Brwnbrg (23-1) d. Cheaney Schoeff, A (32-5), 3-1 (first).
132: Lane Deckard, Edg, p. Jakob Lewellen, Chrtwn, 3:50; Cade Meier, BSouth, d. Jacob Wolf, Switzerland Co, 8-3; Ben Dalton, Monrovia, d. Deckard, 12-8 (SV-OT); Meier, d. Braedon Spears, Plainfld, 8-2; Kysen Montgomery, Brwnsbg, d. Meier, 10-5. Dalton, Mnrv (37-1) d. Meier, BSouth (24-5), 6-1 (third); Montgomery, Brwnbrg (27-3) d. Alec Freeman, EMD (25-1), 3-1 (SV-OT) (first).
138: Delaney Ruhlman, BSouth, p. Diesel Duncan, BnDvs, 3:34; Ruhlman, p. Colin Knox, Chrtwn, :41; Blake Boarman, Mater Dei, d. Ruhlman, 10-7. Ruhlman, BSouth (27-2) md. Gavin Garcia, 9-0 (third); Blake Boarman, EMD (28-1) d. Gavinn Alstott, FloydC (25-3), 3-2 (first).
145: Ashton Hayhurst, EMD, p. Aiden Reynolds, BSouth (19-6), 1:21. Jaden Reynolds, A (37-1), d. Hayden Watson, CG, 4-1 (first).
152: Scott Fitts, EMD, md. Chase Hostetler, BNorth (19-5), 14-2. J Conway, FloydC (27-0), d. Tyler Conley, A (33-3), 5-3 (first).
160: Brody Baumann, EMD (26-0) d. Landon Boe, Plnfld (32-2), 8-5 (first).
170: Sam Morrill, ColE, p. Tuff Fender, BSouth (16-10), 1:34. Morrill, ColE (35-1) d. John Purdy, Cast (30-1), 11-4 (first).
182: Gabe Sollars, EMD (26-0) p. Drake Buchanan, CG, 3:41 (first).
195: Broch Carrington, Grcst (37-0) d. Ke’Shawn Dickens, A (26-4), 3-0 (first).
220: Tristan Ruhlman, BSouth, p. Dakota Sanders, Mooresville, :37; Ruhlman p. Nick Boots, Mater Dei, :54; Ruhlman p. Kelton Farmer, Ev.Mem, 1:16. Ruhlman, BSouth (23-0) d. Josh Howell, THS (24-7), 7-0 (first).
285: Leighton Jones, Brwnbrg (29-0) p. Matthew Munoz, Jeff, :28 (first).
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