Deerfield Academy wrestler Angela Osei-Ampadu wins New England title

  • Angela Osei-Ampadu wrestles for the Deerfield Academy wrestling team at a home tri-meet against Northfield Mount Hermon and Avon in the Kravis Gym on Jan. 29. COURTESY/BRENT HALE/DEERFIELD COMMUNICATIONS

  • Angela Osei-Ampadu, left, competes for the Deerfield Academy wrestling team at a home tri-meet against Northfield Mount Hermon and Avon in the Kravis Gym on Jan. 29. COURTESY/BRENT HALE/DEERFIELD COMMUNICATIONS

Staff Writer
Published: 2/26/2020 8:38:50 PM
Modified: 2/26/2020 11:02:50 PM

Angela Osei-Ampadu will forever be a part of history at Deerfield Academy.

The Bronx native captured the  New England Girls Wrestling Championship on Feb. 15 in Hartford to become the first-ever female New England Champion at Deerfield, or anywhere. It was the first all-girls tournament for prep schools in New England.

Osei-Ampadu went from a novice wrestler her freshman season to securing a spot in Deerfield wresting lore to close out her junior campaign.  

“I had never wrestled before,” Osei-Ampadu said. “It was hard but I liked it. The team was all really nice so I stuck with it. The first few practices were really hard. It was definitely the hardest thing I had to do every day.”

The more she wrestled the more she enjoyed the sport, even though her opponents were mostly boys through two seasons with the Big Green. 

“I wanted to stick with it to see if I would like it more and more,” Osei-Ampadu said. “I kept liking it so I stuck to it. Being able to do everything and do it well made me proud of myself.”

The physical rigors of daily practice include running, carrying teammates and a lot of practicing of shooting.

Shooting is attacking an opponent’s legs, and there are different ways of doing it.  

This season Osei-Ampadu began wrestling more female opponents. During her sophomore season, she wrestled at the sixth annual all-female wrestling tournament in Andover, where she placed second in her weight class.

“That was the first time I wrestled girls before,” Osei-Ampadu. “I like wrestling girls more. It’s more of an even playing field in terms of strength.”

In total, 29 schools and 54 wrestlers from throughout New England were in attendance.  Osei-Ampadu returned to Andover this season after battling a foot injury that hampered the beginning of her junior season. 

She placed second once again in her weight class.

Osei-Ampadu entered the New England tournament as the top seed but had a nearly a 10-pound disadvantage against her competition. The girls’ weights jumped at the tournament from 105 pounds to 121 pounds.  

“They didn’t have my weight class for the tournament,” Osei-Ampadu said. “All the girls I wrestled were a bit heavier.”

Osei-Ampadu wrestles at 113 pounds during the regular season.  Undeterred, Osei-Ampadu pinned three straight opponents to capture the championship. 

“It’s nice that we finally have a girl’s name on the boards,” Osei-Ampadu said. “The New England and the National prep boards. I hope that other girls can see that and think ‘I can do this too.’”

The use of the “cement mixer” helped Osei-Ampadu pin all three opponents. Osei-Ampadu  used the move to hook her  dominant arm under the opponent’s shoulder to pull her off balance and throw her to the mat in a pinning position.  

There is a specific arsenal of moves that the grappler has perfected over the years in the sport. 

“I have a few moves that I know how to hit pretty well and pretty fast,” Osei-Ampadu said. “Before I get on the mat, I think about those three or four moves. I have moves for different scenarios.”

Osei-Ampadu gave a lot of credit to her teammates for her ascension in the sport that historically is male dominated.

“The boys on my team are the nicest people ever,” Osei-Ampadu said. “I think it’s super ironic that a sport that is super tough has the nicest kids on campus. I hope that inspires other girls in case they are curious about wrestling.”

The championship boards reside in Deerfield’s practice space. With a work order in place, Osei-Ampadu’s name will soon become a permanent part of the program’s storied history.  

Competing in the inaugural National Prep School Championships at Lehigh University, Osei-Ampadu went 1-1 to finish third in the 113-pound class.

“Nationals were so cool,” Osei-Ampadu said. “There were eight mats and the wrestling did not stop.”

That finish will also get Osei-Ampadu a spot on the Nationals board in the practice facility.

Numbers are continuing to grow for girls wrestling, but the sport can always use more to fill out weight classes to provide more competition throughout the regular season.

Osei-Ampadu provided a message for potential female wrestlers in a middle school who might be apprehensive about giving the sport a chance. 

“I would tell her to start then because she is still in middle school,” Osei-Ampadu said. “That would give her so much time to get better at it. By the time she gets to high school, she could pin a boy. Start now and wrestle whoever you can. Nobody is good when they start. It’s all about practice.”

Deerfield Academy coach Dan Houston said Osei-Ampadu has a level of confidence not seen in most female wrestlers.

“Angie measures herself to the highest standard,” Houston said. “Other female wrestlers, in my opinion, haven’t yet reached that level of intensity or purpose. She decides she is going to win before she gets on the mat.”

But as a junior, she will begin preparing for her senior season with focused training on her lower body strength and endurance.  

 “I am still going to the gym every day,” Osei-Ampadu said. 

There is still plenty of room for more postseason accolades on the wrestling championship boards at Deerfield Academy. 

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