De La Salle’s Buss is in Gear
By Seth Schwartz
Entering DeLaSalle at a svelte 320 pounds, James Buss wasn’t the poster child for a heavyweight contender.
Now, two years later, Buss hopes to vie for a title Saturday night at Assembly Hall.
Buss’ ascent wasn’t an accident.
Despite no previous wrestling experience, DeLaSalle coach Tom Combes would bring Buss into the varsity room, a couple times a week, and feed him to Curtis Blades [the 2009 heavyweight state champion].
James Buss Sr., a 1986 DeLaSalle graduate, was all for it.
“Throw him in there, let him get his butt kicked!” he stated.
By the end of the season, Buss was closing the gap.
That summer, he lifted diligently and put in time on the mat. After starting the season with a couple of overtime and close loses, Buss proceeded to put everything together, going undefeated until a sectional loss to Hinsdale Central’s Jack Allen. He was out of the state tournament after one match.
Last summer, Buss bested Blades repeatedly in practice. At 5-11, 275 with light feet, he’s difficult to get a handle on.
“When people see me, they think it’s going to be a low scoring match,” said Buss. “They think they can muscle me, but then they realize it’s not going to work. Most of the heavyweights get tired in the second period; I go six minutes strong. I am faster than most of the guys and I am offensive.”
Allen, 85-2 over two years and runner up last year, is the favorite. A potential semifinal match against Sandburg’s Chris Lopez (43-1) will make for a supreme test.
Junior varsity coaches, Johnny Leahman and Anthony Volanti, come in at the end of practice to push the pace for Buss’ workouts.
“I try and keep it pretty basic with singles and doubles,” said Buss. “The coaches have helped me with my shooting; I’ve improved my balance and I counter well.”
Benching 385 and squatting 555 pounds, Buss (35-0) has been a matchup problem.
“James is strong as an ox and is real compact,” said Combes. “The way he’s built and the way he can move can be hard for taller guys.
“He has to finish sprints in the same time as our little guys. A few times he’s gone to the garbage can to puke and then comes back and keeps running. He’s very athletic and has a lot of natural agility. I think things started to click for him at the end of his freshman year.”
Last fall, Buss anchored the line as a nose tackle and offensive guard making second team all conference. Work is second nature for Buss. While the team is supposed to mop the mats at lunch, he says, ‘I got it!’ and takes care of it daily.
In the spring, he assists Combes as the manager for the softball team.
It’s evident Buss has Division I makeup.
“James has the mentality of a DI athlete,” said Combes. “He’s got a huge heart, great work ethic, dedication and is very coachable. He learns quickly and is so positive.
“We teach our heavyweights to wrestle; there’s nothing worse than seeing two big guys push each other for six minutes. He knows his body well and understands how to use it.”
Last edited by admin; 02-16-2011 at 12:53 PM.