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Buxton named TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week



Jeff Buxton (Blairstown, N.J./Blair Academy) has been named TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week for the week of May 9-15.

Each week, TheMat.com will select an Athlete of the Week, based upon performance within wrestling for that week. The selection committee will consider any level of wrestling, from youth programs through the Senior level. The announcement will be made each week on Wednesday.

Buxton is the head wrestling coach at Blair Academy, considered the nation's most successful high school wrestling program.

Buxton received a USA Wrestling Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Night of Champions held in Gladstone, N.J. This special banquet was a fundraiser for the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Wrestling and featured a roast of Olympic champion Rulon Gardner.

Buxton was honored for his amazing achievements leading the nation's premier high school program, as well as his coaching of young athletes through USA Wrestling on the state and national level.

"The Blair wrestlers push me to be a better coach. Keeping these talented kids motivated has not been difficult," said Buxton. "USA Wrestling has helped the sport to grow. I volunteer with them as much as I can. We see wrestling as a true sport that can make a difference in kids' lives."

The Speaker of the House of Representatives J. Dennis Hastert, the honorary chairman of the Night of Champions, congratulated Buxton for his coaching achievements and leadership for young people in a video-taped greeting to those in attendance.

Buxton has been involved in wrestling at Blair Academy since 1982, when he joined the staff as a teacher and assistant wrestling coach. In 1984, he became the co-head coach with Bob Latessa, and became the head coach in 1991 when Latessa took a college coaching position. In the two decades since becoming a head coach at Blair, the program has flourished. Blair has won 26 straight National Prep team championships, with numerous national champions and all-Americans. This past year, seven Blair wrestlers won National Prep individual titles. There are at least 50 Blair graduates currently competing in college wrestling, including many who are ranked at the national level and some who have become national champions and All-Americans.

Buxton is one of the most active coaches and leaders within USA Wrestling, giving his time and effort to build the sport at his school, in his state and across the nation. He has been a leader within USA Wrestling New Jersey, the state association. Buxton is a member of the USAW-NJ Coaches Council, and serves as a coach on New Jersey's Cadet and Junior National Teams. Each weekend, he takes wrestlers to compete at USA Wrestling events on the local, state, regional and national levels, exposing them to new opportunities within the sport. During the summer. Blair Academy serves as the site for Team New Jersey's training camp for the ASICS Junior/Cadet Nationals in Fargo, N.D., and Buxton mentors all of the athletes on the New Jersey state teams.

He is respected not only for his skills in creating champion athletes, but also to his commitment to their development as students and as leaders.

In presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Buxton, Blair wrestling parent Alan Meltzer said this about the man who coached his son: "I gave Jeff one of my most prized things in life, my son. The only thing that matters to a parent is his children. Jeff would be a mentor as a wrestling coach and as a human being. We made the right decision. Jeff's record is incredible. But the real record is how the parents feel about him.

Buxton competed at the Univ. of Rhode Island, where he was a NCAA qualifier for the Div. I program which was ranked among the nation's top 20 teams while he competed there. He also competed in freestyle, including winning an Outstanding Wrestler award at a Regional Olympic Trials event. He served as the head coach at Chariho High School in Rhode Island for two years before joining the Blair staff in 1982.

Note: To nominate a wrestler for TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week, send the athlete's name, accomplishments for the week and career accomplishments to Craig Sesker at csesker@usawrestling.org

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