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Throughout his wrestling career, Angelo Amenta has executed many reversals. But none has been as monumental as the one he used away from the mat when, with just two days left of last summer's break, Amenta elected to re-enroll in the school district he grew up in.
Amenta says he's happy with his decision to transfer to Clay from Waite, and the Eagles were pleased to add the 130-pound sophomore to their already strong lineup.
"I kind of put it off because I knew it would be a tough decision to come to," Amenta said. "When I finally sat down with my dad and talked about it, we decided Clay would be for the best."
The son of former successful Waite coach Carmen Amenta, Angelo has accumulated a 34-5 record entering Saturday's City League meet and is ranked eighth at his weight in Division I by reputable forecaster Brian Brakeman. Among the highlights of Angelo's season: winning an individual and a team title last month at Waite's invitational, which Angelo described as a "weird" experience.
Clay is favored, perhaps heavily, to win the league meet, while Waite is in the beginning steps of rebuilding. But Angelo said the friendships he forged while at Fassett Junior High - which feeds into Clay - played a more important role than athletic opportunities in his decision to transfer.
As an added bonus, Carmen quit his coaching position at Waite - though he remains a physical education teacher at the school - to become an assistant at Clay under Gerry Anthony. Carmen's son and Angelo's brother, Charlie Amenta, is a freshman 171-pounder on the Eagles' junior varsity team.
"It was a tough decision for both of us," Carmen said. "[Angelo] wanted to go with his friends - that was the bottom line. I have no problems with that. It's more fun to be with your friends."
Carmen admits he would have probably returned for his 19th season at Waite if not for Angelo's decision to leave. Ohio's Division I coach of the year in 2005, Amenta led the Indians to four City League titles in the 2000s and produced 42 individual league champions. To his credit, Amenta has offered coaching advice to his successor and former wrestler, Ali Nour.
"I really didn't do any convincing," Angelo said. "I wasn't sure what he was going to do. I was just glad he came so he could be in the room with us."
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