CEDAR RAPIDS — Frank Budederi never experienced wrestling until he moved to the United States about four years ago.
Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa and raised in Kenya on the continent’s eastern coast, soccer was the Cedar Rapids Jefferson junior’s first sports love. Last year, a friend convinced him to give wrestling a try.
“He wrestled and he’s skinny, so I was thinking you’re going to get beat because he’s too skinny,” Budederi said. “He was like, ‘you wrestle your own weight.’ I was like, ‘For real?’ He said, ‘come, try it out and see what you think.’ I showed up and that’s how I got started.”
Budederi was one of three J-Hawks to earn victories in a 60-15 loss to Dubuque Senior in a Mississippi Valley Conference dual Thursday night at Jefferson. He pinned Easton Stakis in 1:38 at 152 pounds.
“A kid like that, you have to be smiling,” first-year Jefferson head coach Rob Martin said. “He loves it. He comes every day. He goes 100 miles an hour.”
Budederi wrestled one varsity match last season and lost by fall. That result still doesn’t set well with him, so he was happy to be on the opposite end of the outcome.
“It felt pretty good,” Budederi said. “My experience from last year I was really hurt that I lost. Worse, I had to get pinned. I can lose by a point. I don’t care, but if I get pinned that’s something else.
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“I was trying to see what my opponent was like first. Then, I went from there. I came out successful.”
Martin adjusted his lineup, bumping A.J. Buzynski to 145 to avoid a forfeit and get a match, which moved Budederi up a weight as well. He didn’t know about the move until the last minute. He gained confidence with an explosive takedown on the edge for the first score.
“At first, I thought that person was going to kill me because he was not my weight,” Budederi said with a laugh. “Turned out it was going to be different.
“It was all of a sudden but it came out to be perfect. It was for the best.”
So was his decision to join the wrestling team. He will continue to work and try to improve as the season progresses.
“I’m just taking it slow,” Budederi said. “I don’t have that much experience. My shots are kind of sloppy and my takedowns aren’t so good, but in time.”
Jefferson finally made its debut after a long delay to start the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The J-Hawks didn’t start practice until Dec. 5.
Austin Clifton (132) and Buzynski added J-Hawk wins. Clifton made quick work of Frankie Cretsinger, posting a pin in 1:41. Buzynski scored four takedowns and a late four-point move for a 15-9 decision over Beau Healey.
“The scoreboard didn’t show it but we actually battled,” Martin said. “We fought. We’re doing the things we’re teaching in just 11 practices that we’ve had so far.
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“We want the results, but at this time of season it’s just looking to get competition. We’ve got to wrestle. We’ve got to get competition. If that means we’ve got to move up then we’re going to move up. A.J. was all for it. They need to take the mat and use the skills that we’re teaching them, transfer it out there, see what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. Once we can do that, we can start building on our program and the process.”
AT C.R. JEFFERSON
Dubuque Senior 60, C.R. Jefferson 15
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
106 pounds — Kellen Willis (DS) won by forfeit; 113 — Jordan Quinn (DS) won by forfeit; 120 — Jaxon Roling (DS) pinned Max Lathrop, 2:30 (1,0); 126 — Seth Connolly (DS) won by forfeit; 132 — Austin Clifton (CRJ) pinned Frankie Cretsinger, 1:41 (1,0); 138 — Double forfeit; 145 — A.J. Buzynski (CRJ) dec. Beau Healey, 15-9 (4,0); 152 — Frank Budederi (CRJ) pinned Easton Stakis, 1:38 (1,0); 160 — Luke Busch (DS) won by forfeit; 170 — Jack Smith (DS) pinned Ryne Chamberlin, 5:18 (3,0); 182 — Ethan Scott (DS) pinned Luke Moses, 2:55 (1,0); 195 — Patrick Ford (DS) pinned Nick Graham, :30 (1,0); 220 — Ethan Manders (DS) pinned Caleb Knight, 2:50 (1,1); Hwt. — Cohen Pfohl (DS) pinned Zane Wilson, 2:28 (1,0)
Takedowns — Dubuque Senior 8, C.R. Jefferson 7. Reversals — Dubuque Senior 4, C.R. Jefferson 1. Escapes — Dubuque Senior 1, C.R. Jefferson 3. Nearfall points — Dubuque Senior 12, C.R. Jefferson 2. Penalty points (awarded) — Dubuque Senior 0, C.R. Jefferson 0. Total match points — Dubuque Senior 37, C.R. Jefferson 21.
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