PITTSBURGH, Pa. - An overtime loss for SIUE's Justin Ruffin in the consolation bracket has ended the season for the Cougars at the NCAA Division I Championships.
Ruffin lost 7-5 in the sudden victory overtime period to 10th-seeded Steve Bleise, a fifth-year 157-pound senior from Minnesota.
SIUE Head Coach Jeremy Spates said Ruffin just needed more offense in his final match at PPG Paints Arena.
"He did a good job of wrestling hard and staying in the match, but he know he has to get his offense going a little more," said Spates. "I think it was a good lesson for him moving forward."
SIUE completed the Championships with two true freshman (Ruffin and Colton McKiernan). Spates said their experience at the Championships will be helpful in the Cougars' wrestling room.
"It's great to have two freshmen in here," said Spates. "They can take that experience back with them and be leaders to the other guys on the team."
SIUE will return three NCAA qualifiers next season with Ruffin, McKiernan and Tyshawn Williams.
2019 NCAA Division I Championships Results for SIUE
Justin Ruffin (18-12) scored 0.5 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) 21-7 won by decision over Justin Ruffin (SIUE) 18-12 (Dec 6-0)
Cons. Round 1 - Justin Ruffin (SIUE) 18-12 won by decision over Joshua McClure (North Carolina) 20-13 (Dec 7-0)
Cons. Round 2 - Steve Bleise (Minnesota) 20-8 won in sudden victory - 1 over Justin Ruffin (SIUE) 18-12 (SV-1 7-5)
Colton McKiernan (21-14) place is unknown and scored 0.0 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Jordan Wood (Lehigh) 23-3 won by decision over Colton McKiernan (SIUE) 21-14 (Dec 6-4)
Cons. Round 1 - Matt Voss (George Mason) 31-7 won by decision over Colton McKiernan (SIUE) 21-14 (Dec 7-3)