The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Blair caps off No. 1 ranking with another National Prep title
By Willie Saylor
When is a good time to recap a dynasty? Certainly not at the pinnacle of their reign.
But when there appears to be no end of that run in sight, one is inclined to wrap their head around the accomplishments with the empire still in mid-stride.
On Saturday, Feb. 25, the Blair (N.J.) Buccaneers won their 32nd consecutive National Prep championship and the 22nd in a row under current head coach Jeff Buxton. In Buxton’s tenure, the Bucs have won 10 Ironman team titles, 16 Beast of the East team titles, and countless honors in between.
With their latest Prep championship, won in historic fashion and with the Bucs sitting unanimously atop the national team rankings, Blair will be named the 2011-2012 national champions. It will be the 10th moniker of national supremacy for Blair, all of which have come under coach Buxton’s guidance.
Last weekend, Blair tied a Prep record with nine individual champions and eleven finalists. Their 354.5 points was one of the highest point totals in Prep history (the most when it has been held as a 32-man bracket), lapping most of the field and several strides ahead of runners-up, Wyoming Seminary (252.5).
On the individual side, 132-pound Mark Grey became just the tenth wrestler to ever win four Prep crowns, joining six other Buccaneers throughout prep history. Todd Preston (138) won his third straight Prep title despite being hospitalized just 72 hours before the tournament. And No. 1-ranked Brooks Black (Hwt) made his third trip to Prep finals, collecting his second title. Overall, half (seven) of the Blair line-up ended the season in the Top 20 of the respective weight classes in the national rankings.
With the Blair program relatively young (just three of their nine champs are seniors) it doesn’t appear their elite level of success will be curtailed any time soon.
Around the Country
Over the past several seasons, Wisconsin Rapids (Lincoln), Wisc., has been a staple in the national team rankings. But largely due to a truncated national schedule and a tournament-specific line-up, the Red Raiders flew a bit under the radar this year. At the state tournament, Lincoln flexed their muscles putting half their line-up in the state finals and crowning two champs. Their 159.5 team points nearly doubled runner-up Muskego’s 83. Luxemburg-Cascon won the Division 2 title, with Coleman taking D3 honors.
Illinois and Indiana:
Both states employ the rare scheduling of contesting their state duals after their individual championships.
In Illinois, which has three classes, Montini rolled to the 2A title, averaging 51 points per dual. In the finals, the Broncos beat Yorkville, 53-13. Leroy won the 1A (small school) division with a 40-24 finals win over Lena and Carl Sandburg (Orland Park) won a wild 3A final opposite Oak Park-River Forest. At no point in the dual, did Sandburg have a lead. Trailing by six points with two bouts to go, Sandburg scored falls at 138 and 145 to close the dual and propel them to a 30-24 win.
In Indiana’s single-class system, there was little doubt who would come out on top. As one of the best prep squads in the nation, Perry Meridan has been dominant all season. The Falcons posted dual scores of 52-19, 40-19, and in the finals vs. Crown Point, 43-14, en route to the title.
The state duals in Michigan were held last weekend with four classes and three nationally-recognized teams.
Detroit Catholic Central won the big school (Division 1) title, with little resistance and a finals victory over Oxford, 47-9. In their three state duals, DCC lost just seven individual bouts.
Division 2 was a battle of two of the top teams in the country with St. Johns staving off Lowell, 9 bouts to 5, in 41-18 final. Richmond and Hudson won the D3 and D4 duals, respectively.
Over the past two seasons, Tulsa Union and Broken Arrow have been neck and neck. Broken Arrow won both dual and individual state crowns in 2011. Union beat BA twice this season and nabbed the dual crown last month.
Last weekend, in 6A action, Broken Arrow turned the tables, outpointing Union 122.5 to 108, despite Union crowning more individual champions (3 to 2). Other Oklahoma team champs were: Collinsville (5A), Tuttle (4A) and Blackwell (3A).
Next Week’s Biggies:
It’s interesting the way high school state tournaments reach a crescendo, isn’t it?
Should you take a poll tallying votes on whom is in the Top 5 of the toughest and deepest wrestling states, New Jersey, California, Ohio and Minnesota are likely to garner much respect.
All of the above will stage their individual championships this coming weekend.
Pennsylvania, largely regarded as the Grand Daddy of them all, wrestles their championships last, and singularly, in two weeks.
Look for continuing state recaps from WIN’s eNews series in the coming weeks.