History was made this February when Angie Osei-Ampadu ’21 became Deerfield’s first girl to win the New England Wrestling Championship and went on to win 3rd place in the National competition. A fierce competitor and impassioned leader, Osei-Ampadu will leave a legacy for Deerfield athletics that goes far beyond the wrestling mats.
A junior captain and the only girl on the team, Osei-Ampadu entered this year’s New England competition built for success. Weighing in at 113 lbs, she ended up having to wrestle at a ten pound disadvantage, because her weight class jumped up from 105 to 121. However, Osei-Ampadu dominated her competition. She beat all three opponents using the same high level move, called the “cement mixer,” which Head Coach Dan Houston explained in his post on the wrestlers’ success on the Bulletin: “Basically, the offensive wrestler hooks his—or her!—dominant arm under the opponent’s shoulder, pulls him—or her!—off balance, hips in, and throws the opponent to the mat. Done right, it’s a pin.”
Osei-Ampadu explained, “I didn’t know I was gonna do that move, but I did it the first match and then the second. All three of my competitors happened to be from Middlesex, so my coaches and I knew that in my final match, the opposition would be expecting it. However, when the match started, we were going back and forth, but I needed to pin the girl and ended up doing it the same way. It was super cool to get the pin in the third.”
As Osei-Ampadu got her third and final pin and secured the championship, all Deerfield members in the room, coaches Dan Houston, Marshall Carroll, Mark Scandling, and co-captain Chris Thagard ’20, knew she had just done something special.
Osei-Ampadu also described the moment as “surreal,” saying that, “It was really awesome to look over at the coaches and Chris and how excited they were.”
She went on to explain how the incredible support from the Deerfield community did not stop there. The following week, as Nationals approached, the wrestling team was by her side to prepare her for the highest level of competition she would face yet.
She said, “I’m really grateful for my team. Especially this last week before for Nationals, I was the only one prepping, but the whole team still came to the optional practices and worked me really hard when they could have just taken the afternoon off. In particular, co-captain John Chung ’20 and Hugo Nutting ’22 practiced with me every day. And my co-captains Chris and John came with me to the tournaments, John coming with me all the way to Nationals, which he didn’t have to do, but he did. It’s a really special community.”
At the National competition, Osei-Ampadu represented Deerfield with class and integrity. She beat a wrestler from Northfield Mount Hermon for the third place trophy and brought home a victory.
Chung, on watching Osei-Ampadu compete at the national level, said “It was a really inspiring weekend. Angie has a grit and tenacity to her that fit right into the national competition. I was really proud to see her lift up that trophy.”
Having only started wrestling her freshman year, Osei-Ampadu is a role model for breaking boundaries and paving the way for success. Mr. Scandling said, “What pleased me the most Angie was her humility. I couldn’t tell the difference when she one or lost-when she was pinned at Nationals, she just stood up, smiled, and said she did her best. When she pinned her opponent at New Englands, she stood up, smiled, and said she did her best. She has a graciousness to her that goes beyond just wrestling, and I think that bodes well for her future.”
Osei-Ampadu, “I hope more girls will be fearless and courageous and try out for the team, especially because I’ve shown them that success is possible. It is totally possible for girls to join this sport and be good at it. If girls are scared to join a majority boys team, they should not be, because the team is made up of the nicest kids on campus.”
The Deerfield community is very proud of Osei-Ampadu for her inspiring leadership and determined hard work and success. Congrats Angie!