Folkstyle Heroes / Wrestlers capture state championships

While Gloria Cloud captured an Indiana State Wrestling Association Folkstyle State Finals for the third consecutive year, Asher Ratliff broke through with his first.

The pair of Columbus North Wrestling Club athletes scored victories earlier this month at Warren Central High School.

Cloud, 7, a second-grader at Taylorsville Elementary, captured the 8-and-under girls 50-pound division.

“It felt good to get first place again,” Cloud said. “The other years felt better because I was just a beginner those years, and now, I’m not a beginner.”

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Ratliff, 11, a fifth-grader at Southside Elementary, captured the 12-and-under boys 98-pound class. He had won freestyle and Greco Roman state championships, but a folkstyle title had eluded him.

“I’ve been trying to do that since I started wrestling, so it felt really good,” Ratliff said. “It’s a lot better because freestyle and Greco is not as many people, but this one had 36 people. Freestyle and Greco, there’s usually about 10 to 13.”

Ratliff, who won an Indy Nationals folkstyle title last month, had finished second in the ISWA Folkstyle championships twice.

“Coming in second the first time was pretty cool,” said his father and coach, Justin Ratliff. “We were right there and just didn’t get it done. The second time, it was kind of a long car ride home. Seeing him finally reach one of his goals by winning state makes it that much sweeter.”

Meanwhile, Cloud also competed in the boys 49-pound division and finished sixth of 44 competitors. She lost her first match, then wrestled eight more matches. Along the way, she avenged that first-round defeat.

“Her sixth place in the boys division was a huge accomplishment,” Justin Ratliff said. “The brackets at state aren’t seeded, so you could run into the best kid the first round.”

Another Columbus North Wrestling Club member, Colin Sluder, finished sixth in the 12-and-under boys 57-pound division.

Two CNWC coaches competed and placed in the Veterans division. Dustin Cloud, Gloria’s father, was runner-up in the 137-pound class, and Andrew Douglas finished third at 167.

“We (CNWC coaches) had a lot of fun at the tournament with the wrestlers and parents,” Justin Ratliff said. “We are pleased with the direction the program is headed in.”