|Buettner reigns supreme at Marion Harding|
|Sunday, December 29, 2013 8:00 PM|
MARION — St. John’s junior Wes Buettner was the 170-pound champion at the 2013 Marion Harding Classic.
He also brought home the coaches’ Most Valuable Wrestler award. He dominated a very difficult weight class filled with two returning Division II State alternates, a returning Marion champion and a highly-touted wrestler from Lakewood St. Edward’s.
Wes came in as a low fifth seed and had to battle through the St. Ed wrestler in the second round, then returning Classic champ Ryan Slife from St Marys Memorial in the quarterfinals. From there, he faced the 5th-ranked grappler in the state, Travis Pickering from Mapleton. Wes was down 2-0 going into the final period and needed points badly for a chance to win. He did just that with a cradle move resulting in a pin to move onto the finals.
“I knew it would be a battle going in,” Buettner said. “It was down to the third period and I just caught him with a cradle to pull out the victory.”
Wes came into the championship match as an underdog against Clayton Ray of Hamilton Township . Hamilton was a Division II State alternate last season. Buettner was down again heading into the third period. He got a 2-point reversal with 30 seconds left for a 1-point lead and held off challenges from Ray in the finals seconds to record a 5-4 victory.
“It was a tough match but I ended up prevailing in the end,” Buettner added about his tough match.
He becomes just the fourth ever Blue Jay to win a title at the Harding Classic, following Aaron Merschman, Ryan Musser and Logan Heiing.
Nate Schroeder finished in fifth place in the 285-pound bracket “wrestling to me his best tournament of his career,” head coach Derek Sterling observed.
Schroeder pinned his first two wrestlers and faced the eventual Marion champion and 2013 D-2 State qualifier, Alonzo Jewell from Hamilton Township. Jewell was forced to battle Schroeder the entire three periods before winning the tough match.
“Schroeder gave Jewell everything he wanted and we just made a couple mistakes that cost us. We are starting to get into the wrestling shape we need to be in,” Sterling continued. “I expect to start seeing Nate finish higher and higher at upcoming meets from here on out; he is becoming very good on his feet and a solid mat wrestler.”
Freshman Brett Vonderwell finished in sixth place, starting the tournament winning his first three matches over seniors from Buckeye Valley, Findlay and Triad.
Day two for Brett was a lot more difficult, losing his next three matches to finish sixth.
“These matches were all good, close, hard-fought matches,” Sterling said. “Our inexperience and some freshman mistakes cost us some very costly points. Brett has really turned it up a notch with his confidence and determination; this is going to carry him a long way this season.”
Brett also became the fourth freshman from St. John’s to place at Marion Harding, joining Wil Buettner, Austin Martin and Gunnar Lucius.
Justin Siefker placed eighth after wrestling a very good tournament at one of the deepest weight classes.
“Justin is by far our most conditioned wrestler and it really showed and helped him out this weekend,” commented Sterling. “Justin won two overtime matches and another match where he was losing by four going into the last period; he is really starting to turn the corner and become one of our go-to team point scorers. Justin does whatever our coaching staff asks of him and he always leaves 110 percent out on the mat when the final whistle blows; keep an eye on him this year (because) I have a feeling you will be seeing a lot of him.”
The other four Blue Jay wrestlers to make day two of the 33-team tournament all lost tough first-round matches: Evan Mohler, Austin Martin, Alex Haunhorst and Austin Schulte were eliminated after the first day. Evyn Pohlman, a freshman, won and pinned his first opponent on Friday but failed to make day two.
“These guys all wrestled good tournaments; they just fell short in a very tough tournament,” Sterling concluded. “We will review some tapes and makes some adjustments at practice. Evyn keeps working hard and we will start hitting our goals.”
The St. John’s wrestlers finished in 10th place out the 33 teams, most of which were Division II schools.
The next action for St. John’s will be Jan. 7 at home against Jefferson and Ottawa-Glandorf. The following night will be at LCC with a quad meet with Elida and Columbus Grove.
TEAM SCORES: Lakewood St. Edward 162, Galion 159, Findlay 139, Dublin Jerome 121.5, Northmor 104, Hamilton Township 102, Mapleton 100, Thomas Worthington 99.5, Oak Hills 99, St. John’s 90, St. Marys Memorial 80.5, Rossford 80, Buckeye Valley 79, Shawnee 78.5, Pleasant 77.5, Mt. Gilead 74.5 St. Charles 73, Huron, 67.5, Northwestern 64.5, Ashland Crestview 62, Centerburg/Triad/Westerville South 61, Monroeville 60, Black River 59, Marion Harding 50, St. Francis DeSales 36, Highland 35, Liberty Center 34, Plymouth 32, Allen East 24.5, Ridgedale 8.