For UVU assistant wrestling coach Justin Ruiz, all of that hard work paid off as he was inducted into the Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame on Oct. 20, 2012.
This honor is a great addition for the already great career that Ruiz has had as a wrestler. Winning three state championships in high school, becoming a two-time All-American wrestler at Nebraska, winning the bronze medal for his individual effort in the 2005 World Championships and earning first place as a team that year at the World Championships are some of the greater things that he has accomplished on the mat.
The beginnings were humble for this Taylorsville, Utah native who started wrestling because his older brother was a wrestler. That seemed to be the little brother thing to do for Ruiz, and he was good at it
With the amount of success that Ruiz had, making the Hall of Fame made sense, and for Ruiz it was the icing on the cake because this honor is not necessarily the pinnacle of his career.
“I think it’s a great honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Ruiz said. “However, at the same time I feel like the individual accomplishments are pretty great.”
“Its hard to compare,” Ruiz continued about being inducted. “On one side, you have a committee to say ‘this guy is really good, we need to honor him,’ and I feel good that they recognized it, but at the same time, some of the accomplishments I had wrestling were fulfilling because of the hard work I put in.”
Only wrestlers can truly comprehend the hard work and dedication it takes to win a match, let alone have the award to follow as Ruiz does. He knows that all of the success he has had and will have as a coach can be boiled down to the simplest of things: hard work.
“Biggest part is hard work,” Ruiz said. “A lot of work in the wrestling room and training. Luck, also. I was lucky to have the coaches I had at all levels, and I was also blessed with some ability to learn the sport really fast.”
Now that Ruiz is done as a competitor, he can now focus on being a coach and spending time with his family, continuing with the sport he loves and helping others achieve greatness.