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HITTING THE MAT: No one is bullet proof

aaron labatt

AARON LaBATT

I’ve collected numerous quotes over the years from various places. It’s almost a hobby.

The quote has to resonate with me, and like most, it serves as a motivational tool. It helps an athlete dig deeper to break barriers and empower desire.

Physically, you can only do so much on the mat. The bigger battle sometimes is the mental one. That is something you can control, and if you can control it, then victory is that much closer no matter what your goal is.

One of my favorites throughout my wrestling and coaching career has been “wrestle the man, not the name.”

Wrestling with that type of mindset was displayed Thursday night when Cornell freshman Gabe Dean upset Penn State’s two-time national champion Ed Ruth in the 184-pound title match at the Southern Scuffle.

Ruth was riding an 84-match win streak and looking to become just the third four-time Southern Scuffle champion. Ruth’s last loss came in the NCAA championship quarterfinals his freshman year.

Instead, Dean handled Ruth for a convincing 7-4 victory that wasn’t controversial, just shocking. It becomes the latest example that anyone can be beaten at any time.

This season has already seen several returning national champions and top-ranked wrestlers go down.

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