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Greco-Roman star and UVU coach Justin Ruiz inducted into Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame



Justin Ruiz competing at the 2010 World Championships. Ruiz is being honored in his native Utah. Larry Slater photo

OREM, Utah - 2005 World bronze medalist and Utah Valley University assistant wrestling coach Justin Ruiz was inducted into the Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame last Saturday, Oct. 20.

The 2012 Hall of Fame banquet was held at UVU's Grande Ballroom and was sponsored by the Utah Amateur Wrestling Foundation (UAWF).

"Getting inducted into the Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame is a great honor to me," said Ruiz. "There are a lot of people that have spent time with me and supported me to help me achieve my wrestling goals. I'm just grateful to be a person considered worthy to be inducted into the Hall of Fame."

Ruiz was a three-time Utah State Champion at Taylorsville High School (Taylorsville, Utah) and recently joined UVU's coaching staff after a long and decorated wrestling career that featured a bronze medal at the 2005 World Championships.

Ruiz was also a three-time ASICS Junior National Champion, a three-time Fila Junior Nationals Champion and a High School National Champion. He too was a two-time member of the Fila Junior World Team and the recipient of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award in 1998. He then went on to wrestle at the University of Nebraska where he became a two-time All-American wrestler.

Ruiz then made the transition to the international ranks, where he went on to become one of the nation's top Greco-Roman star.

He won a bronze medal at the 2005 World Championships, and was a member of the first and only U.S. Greco-Roman Team to win a World Championship in 2007.

His Greco-Roman achievements featured being a seven-time U.S. Open National Champion, six-time U.S. World Team member, 10-time U.S. National Team member, two-time Olympic alternate, two-time U.S. Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year, four-time Pan American Champion and a World Cup Silver Medalist.

Ruiz retired from competitive wrestling in May, after winning his final match at the Curby Cup event in Illinois. He accepted the Utah Valley coaching position after his competitive career ended.

In all, the 2012 Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame class featured four inductees. Besides Ruiz, Reed Fehlburg, Laron Hansen and Aaron Holker were also inducted.

Past Hall members include Cael Sanderson (2002), former UVU wrestling head coach Cody Sanderson (2007) and many others. For a complete list of the members in the Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame visit WrestleUtah.com.

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