Sat, Mar. 16, 2013 - [Wrestling]
By Jim Naprstek, Assistant Sports Information Director
It's hard to imagine that it was only 392 days ago that James Buss had his hand raised as the 3A Illinois State Champion at 285 pounds. He had just completed the perfect season at 41-0. Now, he stands as only one of two freshman All-Americans in Loras' history.
"When we recruited him, we agreed that the expectations were for him to be an All-American," Assistant Coach Ryan Birt said.
"I honestly couldn't have imagined being an All-American in my first year. I wanted it, but I just wasn't sure if it would have happened," Buss said.
After a commanding performance on day one, freshman James Buss returned to the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena on Saturday to finish what he had started. Buss, who was placed in the tournament bracket as the fourth seed, earned a matchup with the top seeded Chad Johnson of Augsburg in the quarterfinal match. Johnson, who is the top ranked wrestler at 285 pounds, entered the match at 36-1.
Knowing that he would have his work cut out for him, Buss did his very best in containing the strong and agile Johnson. He would not concede a point until the second period, but Buss couldn't find the equalizer, losing the bout 6-2.
"I was crushed. I ran off the mat and buried my head in my hands," Buss said, "but I knew that I had to clear my mind and get ready for my next match."
The loss then paired Buss up against Tom Bouressa from Concordia-Moorhead. Bouressa, seeded fifth, was unable to get control in the first match, resulting in another dominating performance by Buss. The lone point that Buss allowed came as a result of a stalling violation in the third period.
"I'm very happy with how he responded. It's not easy to come back from having your dreams of being a National Champion crushed," Head Coach Randy Steward said.
With the victory, Buss earned a spot of the 3rd place match against one of the few opponents that have earned a defeat against him this year. On December 1st, at the Candlewood Suites Duals, Billy Mayer of UW-LaCrosse defeated Buss 4-1 in sudden victory.
In the third place match, Buss would strike first again, scoring a point with his escape to start the second period. Not long after though, Mayer scored two points on a double leg takedown. Both wrestlers exchanged shots throughout the rest of the match, but it would be Mayer who would take the victory and 3rd place in the tournament.
"James Buss is a franchise kid. He's someone that we can build this program around," Steward said, "he's only the second freshman in Loras History to be an All-American and has the potential to be the first four-time All-American."
"The whole team has been real supportive this week, texting me or writing on my [Facebook] wall," Buss added, "I'm glad that I get to bring home the medal and give them encouragement for next year."
Buss concludes his freshman season at an impressive 35-6 mark and as an All-American. For someone who was winning a state championship only a year ago, Buss has shown that he is the real deal. The Loras faithful has three more seasons to watch Buss and the rest of the Duhawks take the next step.
"We feel like we're just getting something special started here. James made a statement this weekend. This is going to do a lot for our program," Steward added.