OMAHA - Braiden Ruffin secured a reversal and a takedown in the third period and as the whistle sounded he celebrated, leaping into the air and pointing to the crowd.
The Bulldog sophomore (46-3) won a state championship in Class A at 170 pounds on Saturday at the Century Link Center in Omaha, defeating Isaac O'Dell (47-3), of Lincoln East, 10-5.
"It's the greatest thing I've ever felt," Ruffin said. "I've been to a state championship in baseball, but we lost. I know what it's like to be on that side. It's always about winning."
Ruffin controlled the match from the start, earning an early takedown, letting O'Dell escape and taking him down again for a 4-1 lead.
"[I knew I'd won] when he tried to roll, I put him on his back and he just kind of laid there," Ruffin said. "He got to his stomach and he just laid there again. He quit, I just kept going."
The Bulldog wrestler continued to ride the Spartan senior throughout the match, securing the victory in the third period with a late takedown.
"A lot of this was the pressure was on the other kid this time," head coach Dale Hall said. "He had beaten Braiden two times earlier in the season. Braiden had nothing to lose and was able to go out there and open up. He was relaxed and confident throughout the day."
Ruffin said as much after the match, saying he didn't want to get beat a third time by the Lincoln wrestler.
"It was definitely a revenge match right there. I should have beat him one time before and especially on the biggest stage, I wasn't about to let it happen again," he said.
When the match was over, Ruffin pointed towards the celebrating North Platte fans, hugged Hall and sprinted into the stands to join them.
"It's amazing. I've never been in front of this many people at one time and all eyes are on me," he said. "I feel like, somewhere it was meant to be. I just took care of my business."
It was North Platte's first state championship since Zack Denney did it in 2012 at 145 pounds.
"It's a great feeling," Hall said. "Braiden went out there and wrestled his match from start to finish. I couldn't be happier for him. Great kid, he works hard, he's a good listener. He wrestled his match from start to finish."