Buswell became the first Sandcrab to make it to the state tournament since 2010.
For the first time in seven years, a Seabreeze wrestler will contend in the Florida High School Athletics Association State Championships. After his freshman season, Sandcrabs junior Braden Buswell promised head coach Paul Schuler he would make it, and he kept his word, becoming Schuler’s first state qualifier.
Buswell also made do on his promise to his late grandfather, Mack Allen Buswell, who died at 95 years old last month.
Mack Buswell — a military veteran — served as a World War II. Before he died, he gave Braden some advice that Braden hopes will charge him throughout the state tournament.
“He told me to always keep fighting and to never stop, whether with wrestling or in life,” Buswell said. “He said to never leave any regrets out there and to never stop until it's all over. He told me to keep fighting, no matter what, whether the score be for or against me.”
Using his grandfather’s words this past month, Buswell became the first wrestler to punch his ticket to the state tournament
since Mike Sampson reached the tournament in 2010.
“Having coached him for the last three years,” Schuler said, “I’ve seen a big attitude change. He’s improved all across the board. Braden came in this year with a lot of confidence. He wrestled some of the top guys all season, and he beat some and wrestled well against others. So that helps.”
Schuler is certain Buswell will not use this moment as a token invitation. Rather, he believes Buswell will medal (finish in the Top 6), and he just might reach the championship match.”
But, it’s not just Schuler who’s confident about the upcoming weekend. Buswell agrees, saying “I realized I'm just as good as most of the kids out there. That makes me more confident when I get out on the mat.”
Whether his season ends as a champion or in the first few rounds, Buswell hopes to make his grandfather proud by never giving up.