Jump to content
  • Y2CJ41

    #WrestlingWednesday with Jeremy Hines: Amberger breaks Batesville's 31 year qualifier drought




    This Valentine’s Day Max Amberger has a lesson for all the fellas out there. Nice guys don’t always finish last.


    Amberger, whom coach Matt Linkel says is one of the nicest kids he knows, is getting the royal treatment in Batesville this week. On Saturday he became the first Bulldog wrestler to advance to the state tournament since 1993.


    “This has been a pretty awesome week for him,” Linkel said. “The wrestling program has really come to life through this. He got a police escort in town when he returned from semistate. The school has posters of him up. The administration is overly thrilled for him and are trying to get as many people as possible that want to go see him wrestle at state the ability to do so. They also announced him at the basketball game. The whole town seems to be behind him.”


    For Amberger, who’s a reserved and quiet person, the sudden popularity has been fun to take in.


    “Everyone has been congratulating me,” Amberger said. “A lot of people I don’t normally talk to have been coming up and telling me good job.”


    Amberger wasn’t exactly a favorite to reach the state tournament. The junior heavyweight is unranked in the state and was ranked just 8th in the New Castle semistate. He won his sectional, but then lost in the regional championship the next week.


    “I like being the underdog,” Amberger said. “But I knew what I was capable of. I knew I could beat some of the kids in the semistate. I was excited for the opportunity to prove what I could do.”


    Amberger took on Frankton’s Ty Everson in the opening round of the New Castle semistate. He controlled the match and won 9-1 to set up his ticket round match.


    Entering the ticket round there was a lot of pressure on Amberger. Since the beginning of the season coaches had told Amberger that it had been 31 years since a Bulldog wrestler had advanced to state – and they thought he could be the man to end that drought.


    “For a high school kid, that’s a lot of pressure,” Linkel said. “He’s handled that well. We kept telling him about how it was 31 years since anyone punched their ticket to state. But Max is always so calm and composed, I don’t think he felt that pressure. He just said he wasn’t doing this for himself, this is for his team, his friends and his family.”


    Amberger went up against Greenfield Central senior Brayden Flener in the ticket round. The two battled back and forth, but Amberger emerged with a 5-2 victory to punch his ticket.


    “I knew he was a big guy that would try and throw me,” Amberger said. “I was keeping my hips back and trying not to get thrown. I ended up putting him on his back and they called the pin – but the call got reversed because it was an illegal headlock. I was, thankfully, able to still secure the win.


    “It was a great feeling winning that match. I had a lot of friends and family there and the best moment was walking up and seeing all of them. That was one of the biggest crowds I have ever wrestled in front of.”


    Friday night Amberger is matched up with Center Grove senior Nate Johnson. Johnson is ranked No. 4 in the weight class with a 23-1 record.


    “All of my family and friends and some of my teammates are going down to watch me,” Amberger said. “I should have a lot of supporters there. I can’t wait to see how it is and to wrestle in front of that crowd.”


    Amberger is on the smaller side for the heavyweight division. He relies on quickness rather than on brute strength. But, he’s also a concrete worker during his free time for his father’s company. He has endurance and can outlast a lot of his opponents.


    “Max is a quiet, loyal kid,” Linkel said. “He’s a great team leader by example. A lot of kids look up to him. He has great grades and he works hard in every aspect of his life. He’s one of the hardest workers I know. He works in a concrete business anytime he can. I know a lot of his toughness comes from that.”


    Amberger’s favorite sport is football. He helped lead Batesville to a sectional championship as a starting lineman.


    “I love football because it’s a team sport,” Amberger said. “I always put the team first. I guess that’s just part of my personality.”


    After high school Amberger plans to either go to a trade school or join his father’s business.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.