Buss Caps Off First Year Campaign with 4th Place Finish at Nationals

By Jim Naprstek (’13) (Plainfield, Ill.) , Assistant Sports Information Director

It's hard to imagine that it was only 392 days ago that James Buss (’16) (Chicago, Ill.) had his hand raised as the 3A Illinois State Champion at 285 pounds. He had just completed a perfect season at 41-0. Now, he stands as only one of two first year All-Americans in Loras' history.

"When we recruited him, we agreed that the expectations were for him to be an All-American," said assistant coach Ryan Birt.

"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 happen," Buss said.

After a commanding performance on day one of the National Championship meet in March 2013, Buss returned to the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena on March 16 to finish what he 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.

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," said head wrestling coach Randy Steward.

With the victory, Buss earned a spot in the third place match against one of the few opponents to defeat him this year. Billy Mayer of UW-LaCrosse defeated Buss 4-1 in sudden victory last December.

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, leaving Buss with an impressive 4th place finish nationally.

"James Buss is only the second first year wrestler in Loras History to be an All-American," Steward said, "He has the potential to be the first four-time All-American.  James made a statement. This is going to do a lot for our program.”

"The whole team was real supportive, texting me or writing on my [Facebook] wall," Buss added, "I'm glad that I got to bring home the medal and give them encouragement for next year."

Buss concluded his first season at an impressive 35-6 mark and as an All-American. Loras fans have three more seasons to watch Buss and the rest of the Duhawks take the next step.
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