NCAA champ Ruth talks wrestling


BENNINGTON -- When Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling coach Scott Legacy started his camp, it was a way for Bennington wrestlers to improve their skills -- while not paying hundreds to travel to clinics.

After more than 20 years, that's still the goal -- but the big names now come to Bennington, too.

Ed Ruth, a three-time NCAA champion for Penn State and a new World Team member, was at the Mount Anthony Middle School on Monday night to ply his craft to nearly 100 wrestlers from throughout New England.

"I was honored for him to ask me to come here," said Ruth, who qualified for the World Team in June. "So many kids are here, and [Mount Anthony has] such a long record of success, so to ask me to be part of it somehow, it's great to have a relationship with the program."

Legacy contacted Ruth through Blair Academy coach Jeff Buxton. He was supposed to attend the camp last year, but Ruth wrestled at the junior trials and couldn't make it.

"We're lucky to have him, especially with his busy schedule," Legacy said.

"It shows who [Coach] Legacy knows and what he's capable of doing, helping out the program," said MAU rising senior Troy Gassaway. "It's awesome, you see Ed on TV, watching how awesome he is, and to have him here is amazing."

During the two-and-a-half hour session -- the second of three days at the MAU camp -- Ruth demonstrated a handful of moves, most revolving around his most effective maneuver, the crossface cradle pinning combination. It's also a move that Legacy and the other Mount Anthony coaches teach his wrestlers.

"It is self-serving, he's doing the cradles and moves a little different than us," Legacy said. "I'm still learning after 30 years. You're not going to pick up everything, but you can tailor some stuff to your team. The beauty of wrestling is that no one does it the same."

Ruth said he went to camps as a younger wrestler, so it's nice to give back.

"Everything comes full circle, I never thought it would be that way; to see it from the other end of it is pretty cool," Ruth said.

Ruth is in the midst of training for the World Team, with camps at Arizona State, then to Azerbajian and then to USA headquarters in Colorado Springs. In September, he'll travel to Uzbekistan for the world championships and wrestle at 86 kilograms (189 pounds).

"I'm glad to see that everything I'm doing is paying off," Ruth said. "I just started [wrestling] freestyle, which is like going from one sport to another sport."

On Sunday, Indiana University coach Joe Dubuque, a two-time NCAA champion himself, led the camp and today, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Heath Eslinger will be the special guest.

"It's nice to have coaches at the college level, they are more experienced from the coaching standpoint and they can explain things a little better," Gassaway said.

Gassaway said he can take a lot from the clinics and put it to use this winter.

"It's about just getting better. I know the moves, but learning the variations help me become a better all-around wrestler," Gassaway said.


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