First NP Wrestling 2-time State Champion
From The Bulldogger: Official News of NPHS
Braiden Ruffin, champion again.
After finishing his junior season with just two losses, the North Platte junior topped the podium at the CenturyLink Center. As one of five NPHS wrestlers at this year’s tourney, he became the school’s first back to back champion.
Ruffin breezed through his first three matches, defeating Noah Ethen of Elkhorn South via fall, Nathan Lenz of Omaha Burke by a 14-8 decision, and scoring a tech fall-the calling of the match when one wrestler leads by 15 points-against Zach Baldwin of Columbus.
Those three wins brought Ruffin to the championship match where he faced Braden Trimble of Millard South. Ruffin had faced Trimble just a week prior at the District tournament where they met in the final of the tournament, Ruffin grabbed the upper hand there.
Ruffin emerged on top a second time, getting the pin and his second State championship medal. “Even though it didn’t look like the hardest, just the getting ready for it was harder than all the others,” he said.
Pre-match Ruffin was dialed in on his goals. “[I was thinking] this is something I can do. It’s something I’ve always been looking forward to doing,” he said. “I wasn’t nervous, but I did feel the pressure on myself.”
Looking ahead to next year, Ruffin isn’t backing down. “Knowing that it’s my last year, I just want to end it on the right page,” he said. Ruffin will start to write that last chapter in a little under a year, but for now, he’s Braiden Ruffin: back-to-back State champ.