By Betsy Veysman
When Jimmy Kloc takes the mat in the future for the University at Buffalo, he knows it will be different than most of his high school bouts.
“Every match in college is tougher than a state finals match,” he said.
After what Kloc has gone through to win his New York State championships the past two seasons, that’s saying something.
As a junior, the Iroquois wrestler defeated Matt Ross 4-3 to win his first crown at 145 pounds despite tearing tendons in his finger during the bout.
“That was tough but I didn’t even notice how bad it was until after the match,” Kloc said. “To tell you the truth, I was in a lot more pain this year.”
Four days before defending his crown at the 2012 tournament, Kloc hyperextended his left elbow.
“I couldn’t straighten my arm to save my life,” he said.
Despite the injury, the all-time leader in victories for Iroquois was able to begin the event with a quick pin over Matt Matouzzi of Kellenberg before things got worse in his 14-11 quarterfinal victory over JT Romagnoli of Jamesville-Dewitt.
Kloc said he suffered a tear in his left shoulder during the bout. Still, he battled to a 3-2 victory over Evan Wallace of Columbia in the semis before ending his career with a 7-4 decision over Corey Rasheed of Longwood in Saturday night’s finale.
“The injuries were on the same side, so basically my left arm was useless,” he said. “I had to wrestle three matches like that but I was able to pull off the state title. This year I was expected to win everything and I really didn’t want to mess that up. I don’t think I’ll forget that last match.”
Another thing Kloc didn’t forget was his connection with Buffalo, especially as he went through his college decision-making process.
“I felt like I belonged at Buffalo because I spent so much time there when I was younger,” he said, adding that he plans to compete at 141 or 149 pounds. “I wrestled in the Super Six youth program, starting in seventh or eighth grade and that’s when I really started to get pretty good at wrestling. I know a lot of guys on the team now and feel comfortable there.”
He also knows some of the other incoming Buffalo recruits, including undefeated state champions Tony Lock of Pioneer High and Chris Nevinger of Letchworth Central.
Both Lock and Nevinger went undefeated in the 2011-12 campaign and between them own four state titles and three NHSCA national championships.
Besides all standing on top of the podium in Albany in 2012, Kloc, Nevinger and Lock have something else in common other than their college destination – all were standouts on the gridiron as well.
Kloc, a running back who rushed for 1100 yards as a senior and made the Class A South team, will miss putting on the shoulder pads.
“I am going to miss every second of it,” Kloc said. “I love football, but I’m just not the tallest man in the world.”
Not the tallest, but plenty tough, as his last two trips to the Times Union Center have proven.
Joining Kloc at Buffalo:
133/141 Erik Galloway (University of Pittsburgh transfer)
141/149 John Northrup (Rush Henrietta)
184 Tony Lock (Pioneer)
157/165 Chris Nevinger (Letchworth Central)
184/197 Jarred Lux (North Allegheny)