The Press Newspaper
Heavyweights Cody Buckner and Louis Cutchall are good friends and workout partners in the Genoa wrestling team’s practice room.
Buckner stands 6-1 and weighs 280 pounds. Cutchall is 6-2 and 285 pounds and still cutting his weight down from over 290 after suffering a knee injury during football season.
“I had a hard time cutting weight a little bit,” Cutchall said. “I’m good to go now.”
Both individuals are talented and very driven to succeed on the mat. The Comets’ behemoths have a combined 27-1 record, with Buckner, a senior, going 5-0 and Cutchall, a junior, going 4-0 at last weekend’s 10-team Northcoast Holiday Duals tournament at Genoa.
Coach Bob Bergman, whose Comets went 9-0 at the duals tourney, said he is blessed to have two talented competitors in the heavyweight division.
“Both of them are incredibly unselfish,” Bergman said. “It’s a great way to keep a one-two punch, like a tag team. We compete in a lot of duals and they pretty much alternate. These two are workout partners and they lift together. They do a lot together.”
Bergman said the two complement each other in certain ways on the mat.
“Louis is really good on top,” he said, “and Cody is really good on his feet. They make each other better in each area. There’s no letdown at all when either one of them wrestles. Every tournament we’ve been to, they’ve both dominated.”
Buckner has a 20-1 record – his only loss is to Oak Harbor’s T.J. Lawrence – and Cutchall is 7-0. Buckner, a three-year starter, placed second at last year’s Northern Buckeye Conference tournament and went on to win a sectional crown and advanced to the state tournament. He went 1-2 in Columbus and finished with a 33-11 overall record.
“Cody really committed himself after making state last year,” Bergman said. “He got motivated in the weight room. He’s pretty strong for a heavyweight. That’s what he really commits himself to in the offseason.”
Buckner said being unable to reach the awards podium at state last year “made me want to get better.”
“I should be a placer this year and be on top of the podium,” he said. “I was upset last year that I came that far and didn’t make it to the podium. I’ve got to have better technique and work on my cardio so I can last longer in the periods.”
Cutchall, who compiled an 18-5 record a year ago, could have been the one competing for a spot at the state tournament if not for one person – Cody Buckner.
Buckner won a wrestle-off against Cutchall prior to the NBC tournament, so Buckner got to compete in the conference tournament and represent Genoa at the sectional, district and state level.
“Cody has credentials, but Louis is every bit as good,” Bergman said. “They are so unselfish. They are whatever-the-team-needs types of guys, and that’s very rare.”
Cutchall holds no grudges against Buckner for beating him in that all-or-nothing wrestle-off last season. Quite the contrary.
“Me and Cody are pretty close,” Cutchall said. “I’ve wrestled with him for about five years now and we definitely encourage each other to work hard, and we push each other in the (practice) room. We’re definitely there to support each other and give tips to each other on what we see in each other’s match. I definitely think I helped push him to get to state.”
Buckner said he considers Cutchall to be one of his own family.
“He’s like a brother to me,” Buckner said. “Without him, I don’t think I would have gotten to state. He makes me a better wrestler. He shows me what I can work on and get better at. We work on stuff we need to work on.”
Buckner said he has improved his strength and conditioning by lifting weights and attending wrestling camps over the summer. He went 5-1 at an all-star camp in Pittsburgh, and he also attended local wrestling camps.
Cutchall said offseason work has also helped him improve, and he credited Buckner for keeping him prepared from week to week during the season.
“He pushes me in the room to the max,” Cutchall said. “He gets everything out of me. He gets me prepared for kids who might be stronger than me, and he gives me good technique to use against them.”
Several weeks from now, Buckner and Cutchall will have another wrestle-off, to see which one of them will carry the heavyweight banner for Genoa into the postseason. Buckner said he thinks about that scenario all the time.
“I think about it a lot,” he said. “That’s a hard part. Usually when we wrestle off, we hug it out (afterwards) and talk about how we did and we wish the best for one another.”
Cutchall said he keeps that eventual wrestle-off in the back of his mind when the two are practicing.
“Mentally, I’m putting the wrestle-off together in my head so I can keep it stored up,” Cutchall said. “I’ll hold a little back to keep it for the wrestle-off this year. He’s a senior and I’d like to see him go to state, but I’d also like to go to state. That’s my dream.”
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