By STEVE KRAH
Landon Buchanan landed back on top at the Elkhart Sectional after being forced to injury default in the finals in 2021.
Buchanan, a Jimtown High School senior, moved to 33-2 on the 2021-22 season with a second-period pin victory in Saturday’s finals.
A sectional runner-up at 160 a year ago, he was first at 145 in 2020 and second at 145 in 2019.
A Fort Wayne Semistate champion and eighth-place finisher at the State Finals in 2021, he lost in the second round at semistate in 2020 and the first round at semistate in 2019.
Buchanan talks about his senior season.
“I haven’t worked too much on technique,” says Buchanan. “I think I have the technique. It’s just more mental for me. It’s knowing what I need to get to and pushing myself.”
Like many successful grapplers, Buchanan started focusing on the sport before high school.
“It all kind of changed in middle school,” says Buchanan. “I started coming in with the high school (team) and see how they practice. I really made a jump there. I learned how to practice with (Martin Moyer).”
Buchanan was a standout for Jimtown’s 9-3 football team in the fall.
“It took awhile to get into the rhythm of things,” says Buchanan of the transition from gridiron to mat in the fall. “The conditioning is a lot different.”
While he is not sure where, Buchanan does plan to wrestle in college and will likely study business.
“I’m trying to find the best fit for me,” said Buchanan. “
While he likes to do well as an individual, he also cares about being part of a team which had six weight class winners (himself plus junior Alex Moyer at 106, senior Aaron DeLaLuz at 120, junior Mikey Kallimani at 126, senior Noah Eberhart at 138 and junior Conner Watts at 145) and lost to Elkhart by a whisker (223.5 to 223) for the 2022 sectional team championship.
“We have guys with so many different wrestling styles — we’ve got strong guys, fast guys, funky guys,” says Buchanan, who moves on to the Feb. 5 Goshen Regional. “We’ve got everything you need.”
Jimmies head coach Jerimiah Maggart encourages Buchanan to be a team leader.
“I just encourage my teammates,” says Buchanan. “They all know what they need to do. I’m yelling for them and getting excited.
“When I’m not in matches I’m on the sideline just like my coaches.”
Maggart appreciates the example Buchanan sets.
“He’s not loud, but he’ll do anything to help his teammates, which is awesome” says Maggart. “He leads by example. He never misses practice and he works. He stays after practice and helps the little kids every time.”
Maggart also sees an athlete that is focused on his goals.
“He’s got the determination and drive and he’s very level-headed,” says Maggart. “You know that when some kids lose you can’t talk two them for a few minutes. I could walk right up to him and talk to him.
“He gets it. He’s easy to coach and break things down. That’s really one of the coolest things.”
Landon is the third of Eric and Judy Buchanan’s four children. His older siblings are Mitchell Smith and Cheyenne Smith. His younger brother is Hayden Buchanan.
“He’s 10 and he’s a pretty tough wrestler,” says Landon.
By STEVE KRAH