UNIVERSITY PARK — A contrite Ed Ruth showed up early at the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex on Tuesday with something to check off his to-do list.
He apologized to his coaches, teammates and Penn State fans for an unspecified violation of team rules that led to a suspension. Coach Cael Sanderson said Ruth's suspension will extend for a month, dating from the day the violation occured.
“Sorry about what happened,” Ruth said. “Me and the coaches are working, trying to stay focused about everything.”
Ruth will not be able to return to the lineup until at least the Dec. 15 dual against Ohio State. A two-time defending NCAA champion, Ruth will miss home duals against Lock Haven and Pittsburgh and a dual against Boston University on the road. The dual against Pittsburgh will take place inside the Bryce Jordan Center.
“We're working with him to make sure something like this doesn't happen again,” Sanderson said. “He won't be wrestling in the BJC dual. That's part of the reason we set that up, for our seniors and so these guys could come and see these guys compete. But that's just the situation.”
In the meantime, Ruth said he'd continue to help his teammates prepare. Ruth made the trips to Lawrenceville, New Jersey and Bethlehem where the No. 1 Nittany Lions (2-0, 0-0) beat Rider and No. 25 Lehigh over the weekend.
“If somebody needs to cut weight, I can help with that,” Ruth said.
Not counting Ruth, Penn State has four wrestlers who are certified or eligible to wrestle at 184 pounds.
Sophomore James Frascella filled in for Ruth at 184 pounds and lost both matches. Rider's Clint Morrison beat him by technical fall and Lehigh's Zach Diekel posted a 9-6 win against Frascella. Senior Andrew Church, sophomores Dylan Dailey and Scott Syrek and freshmen Wes Phipps and Matt McCutcheon are also listed as 184-pounders. Phipps is coming off a redshirt season that saw him go 13-9 in open tournaments.
The redshirt freshman has been held out of early practice sessions with a broken hand but is expected to return to live wrestling soon.
“We have a couple of guys in there,” Sanderson said. “Wes Phipps should be back this week. Frascella's obviously stepped in there and wrestled a few matches, got some experience being in the lineup. I'm not sure there whether it's Phipps or Frascella this week.”
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