After garnering much attention over the course of the 2012-13 season, freshman heavyweight James Buss earned the right to represent Loras College at the 2013 Division III National Championships with his Regional Championship victory two weeks ago.
For the second time this season, Buss met Jake Ceslick from Olivet College. In their first meeting, Buss took the victory by a score of 5-0 at the Desert Duals in Las Vegas. Now, two months later, these two stalwarts found themselves pitted against each other in the National Tournament.
Buss was quick to get to work, jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first period, which included a takedown and a near fall as well as 2:00+ of riding time. From there on out, Buss maintained control of the match, despite multiple shot attempts from Ceslick, winning 6-0.
Following the afternoon break, session two started up, with the winners in the championship side of the bracket only needing one more victory to become All-Americans and advance to the championship bracket semifinals. For Buss, he was met with the challenge of Anthony Edgren of UW-Whitewater, the 10th ranked wrestler in the nation, who came into the match sporting a 27-5 mark. Contrary to his first match, Buss knew that Edgren had different strengths compared to Ceslick and therefore played out the match more conservatively.
The turning point came at the start of the second period, when Buss elected to start in the down position, and immediately earned a one point escape. For the rest of the period, the two exchange arm locks, but neither was able to do much with them.
With only two minutes remaining and being down a point, Edgren took his chances at the down position, hoping to equalize quickly. Buss would have plans of his own. Repeatedly, Edgren attempted to break free of the massive grip applied from Buss, and it was only after Buss had earned the extra point due to his accumulated riding time, that Edgren escaped, earning his lone point.
The victory earns Buss a place on the podium tomorrow and the title of All-American. However, as he has said all year long, there's more work to be done. His first match of the day tomorrow will be against the top ranked and returning national champion, Chad Johnson from Augsburg. Johnson entered this weekend's tournament as the top seed and touting a 33-1 record.
For Buss, the bout won't be easy, but then again, nothing in life that's easy is worth it.