Amburgy overcomes knee injury to place at state

Divy Bose | Sports Writer       

Abby Waechter | Staff Writer

Seniors Dominic DiTullio and Owen Amburgy closed out their careers as two of Mason High School’s most successful wrestlers. 

Sometimes the journey to the top can be a dangerous climb. 

Mason High School senior wrestler Owen Amburgy saw firsthand just how dangerous that climb could be at the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Division I state wrestling championship on Saturday, March 13 and 14. 

After breezing through his quarter-final match against the wrestler from St. Edwards, Amburgy advanced to the state semifinals that took place Sunday evening when the unpredictable occurred. 

During the first period of his semi-final match, Amburgy tore his meniscus and was unable to move his knee for the remainder of the meet.  After losing two matches in the first round of the semifinals, Amburgy was determined to finish his day on the podium. Knowing that placing would require grit, Amburgy set the goal for the third or fourth spot on the state podium. 

As every athlete wants to make the most out of their season, Amburgry had his eye on the podium all season and was not willing to lose sight of it because of an injury. Wrestling head coach Nicholas Maffey said that Amburgy’s stubborn mentality helped him to overcome the pain caused by the knee injury. 

“Having to fight back is something that has been a part of his life,” Maffey said. “He wanted to finish on his own terms and his stubbornness paid off in his last two matches as a Comet.”

For many athletes, injuries often mean the end of their season. If they continue to compete despite the pain, it may do more harm than good to an athlete’s future career. In a sport that requires this sort of discomfort, however, wrestling requires an athlete to quickly overcome hits and blows from an opponent. 

“It’s just a part of the sport,” Amburgy said. 

Maffey said that even for wrestlers, an injury has underlying factors to an athlete’s mentality that can ultimately be difficult to overcome. 

 “He was an injury away from being the guy,” Maffey said. “But having to collect yourself after a tough loss with an injury is not something that can be easily done.”

After the COVID-19 shutdown placed an early end to Amburgy’s junior year season, he said that he was determined to come back strong for his senior season and make the most out of it after he saw what it was like to have a season end abruptly. 

“Last year Dominic DiTullio and I qualified for state but didn’t get to compete because of the pandemic,” Amburgry said. “We used the shutdown as motivation for this year’s state tournament.” 

Amburgry said that because his season ended so soon in his junior year, he was not going to let an injury ruin his track record of pinning some of the state’s fiercest competitors. After enduring a knee injury in the semifinal match, Amburgy fought back in order to take fourth place.

“Amburgy is one who faces adversity head-on and doesn’t shy away from it,” Maffey said. “He breaks down his opponents to a science, already having a game plan in mind.”

Although Amburgy was ultimately injured he said that he did not dwell on the day’s misfortunes and focused on the accomplishments he had made throughout the tournament. 

“Even after a knee injury…” Amburgy said. “I pinned the 20th ranked wrestler in the nation during the quarter-finals.”

Maffey said that Amburgy’s mindset helped him overcome the setback of the injury and the self-doubt that could have followed.  “His mental preparation was what prepared him for the season,” Maffey said. “He is savvy and top-notch when it comes down to mentally taking down a tough opponent in a match.”

Maffey said that Amburgry has left a lasting legacy on the wrestling program at Mason High School. While his career statistics are impressive, Maffey believes Amburgy’s influence will be one that helps encourage the younger wrestlers in the program to aspire to the kind of greatness Amburgy has achieved in his career. 

“He’s always been the biggest cheerleader to the underclassmen and the team as a whole,” Maffey said. “I’m excited to see where he goes with his talents and future aspirations.”