Libby on target to reach 100 career wins

Sam Libby fights for an escape to earn himself a point after starting on the ground.

Camden Paeltz | The Chronicle

After battling through a torn labrum and shortened season due to global pandemic, senior Sam Libby is on the cusp of the major wrestling milestone of 100 career wins.

Libby has overcome many obstacles that have hindered his progression to reach 100 career wrestling wins, a major milestone that not many people reach. In the middle of Libby’s junior year, he tore his labrum and could only compete in 14 matches, which is even lower than the number of matches he played his sophomore year, the year Coronavirus shut down all the schools in Ohio. Libby said that he has used those setbacks to motivate him to still reach his goals.

“My sophomore year was the COVID year.” Libby said. “I might have even been able to hit 150 If I had both those years back, but I just go in and I try to train as hard as I can every single day and try to make my team better.”

All of the wins Libby has been gaining have not come easy for him, he makes sure to run before school almost every day. After school, Libby goes to his normal practice, and he then goes home to get some of his school work done and take time to just relax, this is normally about two hours for him. Once Libby is done with all of his work, he goes to the gym, lifts weights, and does about thirty minutes of intense cardio. Libby does all of this work so that he can be the best he can ever be and perfect this craft he has been working on ever since he was five years old.

Libby is hoping with all of the work that he has put in will give him a chance to make it to the state meet, where he hopes to end his High School career with a good ending and redeem himself from prior years where he has made it to blood round.

The blood round takes place during one of the final rounds of a tournament, it has gotten his name from the number of blood times that are normally called. Libby said his success during his senior season is a testament to the experience he gained during his first three seasons in the Greater Miami Conference.

“I’ve always made it to the blood round where I’d be right on the edge and I wouldn’t place so this year it’s a really big deal that I do place,” Libby said, “ It’s like I’m finally closing the book”

Sam Libby battles in a match at the Mason Invitational where he finished in second place in the 175 pound weight class.

Reaching 100 wins is an impressive achievement anywhere, but even more school at a large division one school like Mason. The Comets consistently compete against top teams in the region, while a dominant small school wrestler may only face high-level opponents during the postseason. This season Libby has faced multiple wrestlers ranked in the top ten of their weight class in the state. Libby said that the stiff competition he faces has allowed him to continue to improve throughout his entire career.

“One hundred wins for another school is not that big of a deal because they don’t compete at the same level we compete at,” Libby said. “We wrestle a lot of better schools, and Maffey makes sure that there’s a lot of better teams in our schedule.”

Head Coach Nicholas Maffey has been with Libby throughout his High school career. Maffey has been with Libby when he tore his labrum, and when he could not even wrestle because of the pain he felt every time he moved. Maffey said that he never gives up and does not go out that easily, so when he had to leave wrestling for a few weeks, Maffey saw his determination and his non-stop perseverance.

“As soon as he was hurt last year, he immediately got to work strengthening himself,” Maffey said. “He went from being 157 pounds to 175 pounds. He spent a lot of time in the weight room, and also spent a lot of time doing yoga three times a week to strengthen the muscles around the labrum.”

Libby currently sits at 97 wins for his high school career and is likely to reach 100 wins on February 18 at the GMC Championship meet.

Libby has not decided if he still wants to continue his wrestling career in college, but if he does decide that he wants to end it, he wants to end it off on a good note.

“I’m not 100% sure if I’m going to pursue this route because I’ve been doing it for so long,” Libby said. “It might just be nice to finally let it go, place at the state, and walk off, and be done on a good note.”

Photos by Camden Paeltz