Saugerties wrestler Colby Amell makes States

Colby Amell squares off against an opponent in a recent match. (photo by Robert Ford)

Colby Amell, Saugerties’ wrestling team’s lightest member at 99 pounds, will be representing the Sawyers in the state wrestling tournament on February 24 and 25 at the Times-Union Center in Albany. Amell earned his trip to the States by defeating four opponents this past weekend in the District 9 tournament.

Amell won his Division I title at the districts with two pins and two decisions.


In an interview Sunday, Amell said he was still trying to process the fact that he was going to the States. “My dad told me I did a good job after I won, but my mom was a little overly happy,” said the sophomore.

Amell’s decision to become a wrestler wasn’t entirely his own. “In fifth grade my brother [Dylan, who also wrestlers for Saugerties] told me that I was going to be a wrestler or else.”

While he eventually listened to his brother, Colby didn’t hop on board the wrestling train until he was in seventh grade. “I started out wrestling in seventh grade on the modified team and worked my way up to varsity,” he said.

His coach, Dom Zarrella, said in a prophetic moment a few nights before the district tournament that he thought Colby had a good chance to win.

After Colby won the district title, Zarrella wrote in an email, “Colby has a passion for the sport of wrestling. He worked in our off-season program and developed and improved through out the season. He is strong for his weight and has solid technique. He has a bright future and has the ability to place at the state level.

“The match in the finals was interesting. He was taken down but quickly reversed his opponent. He then put him on his back and almost pinned him. It was close. At the end the other wrestler mounted a furious comeback and shot in on Colby’s legs. Colby was able to withstand the leg attack and hold on for the win. Great match.”

For the next week, Colby said he would be working out with his teammates, improving his skills and just trying to stay calm. “When I was going in to the finals, I was so nervous,” he said. “My hands were sweating. But it worked out great.”

That victory was an emotional moment for the entire wrestling team. Some of his teammates were in tears when he won.

Amell wasn’t the only Sawyer to do well in the districts. Senior Jimmy Ball finished second in the 220-pound weight class, and James Heinlein at 113 pounds finished fifth.