Basehor-Linwood freshman one of two headed to state tourney
Martin Buck attributed his first loss Friday at regional competition in Holton to nerves.
The freshman had a daunting task to think about upon his return home: one more loss would end his season. Buck returned anew, not losing another match, and earning a trip to state.
"My first match, I had nerves in me," Buck said. "It was a matter of getting those out. Going into a tournament I am always nervous before my first match. After that, I just stepped up and wrestled better."
Buck finished third in the 125-pound bracket.
Buck lost a tight match in the opener, 3-2. He pinned his next two opponents.
Because the top four placers go to state, the key match for Buck occurred before the third-place showdown.
"I knew I had to step it up or else I wasn't going to go to state," Buck said. "It was all or nothing."
What was the key?
"Don't get too nervous is the biggest thing," Buck said of his mindset before the match. "As long as I don't put pressure on myself I will do fine."
The freshman had an added sense of motivation beyond the obvious implications.
"Joe (Johnson) wrestled right before me and won in overtime, and that put a little more on me, because if he made it I had to make it," Buck said. "I just wanted to go out there and give it my best."
Buck secured a state berth in the next match with a victory. His opponent entered with a 22-12 record, dwarfing Buck's 14-14 mark.
"I had .500 record, but (BLHS coach Scott) Neil told me not to pay attention to the record because it doesn't matter," Buck said. "I got five points early, so that really helped over the rest of the match."
He had unfinished business to attend to, however, when he was given a chance to avenge his first-round loss at the hands of Brandon Huber of Concordia. Huber had fallen into the lower bracket with a loss, setting up the rematch Buck craved.
"I just wanted to beat the kid; I didn't care about the medal, because he had beat me earlier on," Buck said.
Buck made adjustments in the rematch, and this time came out victorious
"Speed was my problem (in the first match)," Buck said. "I didn't use enough speed."
Bobcat wrestling coach Scott Neil was pleased his wrestler made the necessary adjustments.
"He said I stepped it up and wrestled a lot better than I did the day before," Buck said.
Buck likes his chances at state. If he can get by the first round, he could be wrestling Chase Wells from Santa Fe Trail, assuming Wells escapes the first round unscathed. Buck already has beaten Wells twice this season. A win in those two matches, and he would be in the semifinals.
"It is real exciting," Buck said. "I want to be just like my older brother Brandon; a four-time state qualifier."
Brandon placed twice at state, including a second-place finish his junior year.