Honors and Awards
NU Most Improved Wrestler
NU Redshirt of the Year
2003- Seeded third, Ruiz earned his second All-America honor with a fifth-place finish at the 197-pound weight class, defeating Chris Skretkowicz of Hofstra, 7-4. In the first round, Ruiz defeated Lee Kraemer of Wisconsin, 10-3, before being upset in the second round by Tom Grossman of Oklahoma, 7-6. Falling into the consolation bracket, Ruiz opened with a victory over Kevin Kessner of Wyoming, 3-1, before defeating Donte Stone of Missouri, 3-1.
Against Morgan Horner of Lock Haven, Ruiz trailed 8-6, but scored a takedown with 20 seconds left to force overtime. In the overtime period, Ruiz needed just 17 seconds to score the first offensive point and take the match, 10-8. Assured of All-America honors, Ruiz defeated ninth-seeded Kyle Smith of Michigan, 4-3, before falling to second-seeded Muhammed Lawal of Oklahoma State, 5-3. He defeated Skretkowicz in the fifth-place match.
Big 12 Championships
2003-Ruiz missed two and a half months of action after suffering a hamstring injury on Dec. 6 at the Cliff Keen Invitational. Despite the missed time, Ruiz compiled a 16-4 overall record and went undefeated in duals with a 7-0 mark. Of Ruiz’s 16 wins, two were by fall, two by technical fall and one by major decision. Ruiz went 2-0 during the regular season against ranked opponents. Ruiz was named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic First-Team and earned Nebraska’s Most Dedicated Wrestler award.
2001-Ruiz, a Mormon, missed the 2001 season while he was on his mission trip.
2000-Ruiz, a Mormon, missed the 2000 season while he was on his mission trip.
He also won an Espoir Greco-Roman national championship to qualify for the 1997 Junior World Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships in Tarku, Finland, where he finished third in the Espoir Freestyle division. Ruiz placed sixth at 198 pounds at the Junior World Championships and was the highest U.S. finisher in the Greco-Roman division at the Junior World Championships.
Personal-The son of Joe and Carrie Ruiz, Justin has two brothers, Brandon and Jared. Justin was born Feb. 16, 1979.
*-Redshirt seasons do not count in career totals.Ruiz, the nation’s top high school prospect at 198 pounds in 1998, was a three-time Utah high school state champion at Taylorsville High School for Coach Mark Campbell. Ruiz was selected as the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s High School Wrestler of the Year in 1998. He captured the 1997 Junior National Greco-Roman and Freestyle titles at 191.5 pounds. Ruiz went 12-3 as a redshirt wrestling in open tournaments, and was tabbed as the redshirt of the year by his coaches. Ruiz finished third at the Northern Iowa Open and fifth at the Kaufman-Brand Open. Ruiz went 27-11 on the season after beginning the year by winning 11 of his first 12 matches. He posted a 4-0 record to take home first place at the Brand Open on Nov. 17. Ruiz then added another first-place finish by compiling a 3-0 record at the Worthington Open on Jan. 19. At the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Ruiz placed fourth overall after finishing the invite with a 5-2 record. He went 5-8 against ranked wrestlers and posted major decisions against two ranked opponents during the season.2003-Ruiz decided to take a redshirt season in hopes of making the Olympic team. He narrowly missed his goal, finishing second at the Olympic Trials, but decided to forgo his senior year at Nebraska to continue his international career.-Seeded third in the Big 12 Championships, Ruiz dropped both of his matches to Scott Baker of Missouri, 14-2, and Oklahoma State’s Willie Gruenwald, 7-4. Ruiz was selected as one of six Big 12 wildcards for the NCAA Championships.
2003-Seeded first at the Big 12 Championships, Ruiz was runner-up to No. 2 seed Muhammed Lawal of Oklahoma State dropping, the championship match 7-4. In the opening round, Ruiz defeated No. 3 seed, Donte Stone of Missouri, 8-4.-Ruiz earned All-America honors after defeating fifth-seeded Scott Baker of Missouri, 7-6 to finish fifth at 197 poundsl at the NCAA Championships. Ruiz entered the tournament unseeded and drew No. 7 seed Chris Skretkowicz of Hofstra in the opening round. Ruiz posted a 12-3 upset of Skretkowicz, scoring 12 unanswered points to post the victory. In the second round he defeated 10th-seeded Tom Grossman of Oklahoma, 5-4, in a tiebreaker. Ruiz suffered his first defeat of the tournament to Jon Trenge of Lehigh by fall at 3:15. He dropped to the consolation bracket and defeated Pat DeGain (Indiana) by fall (1:50) and sixth-seeded Kyle Smith (Michigan), 7-3. Ruiz lost to fourth-seeded Nick Preston of Ohio State in a tiebreaker before defeating Baker. 2003
Big 12 Runner Up
NWCA All-Academic First Team
CoSIDA Academic All-District Second Team
NU Most Dedicated Wrestler