Hanover’s Corbin Allen dominant in return
BY BRAD BESS
Physical strength is necessary for success on the wrestling mat at any level. Hanover’s Corbin Allen has had a wrestling season that has required just as much mental strength.
It started at the Super 32 Challenge, a highly competitive preseason tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Allen had won his first 152-pound match by pin in 1:31. But in his second match, while wrestling a fellow 2013 NHSCA national champion, he felt a pop in his left ankle.
“He went to go stand up and I returned him and he grabbed my ankle,” Allen said, “and I just rolled it and felt it pop immediately, and just happened to let go and grab it and just was screaming on the mat.”
With encouragement from his father and a taped ankle, Allen continued the match.
“With about a minute left, he ended up cutting me and I basically stood, like the Karate Kid, on one leg, and didn’t let him take me down,” said Allen, who won the match 7-5.
Fearing a broken tibia, Allen returned from Greensboro, went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a severe high ankle sprain. The doctor put Allen’s ankle in a brace and gave him crutches. The orthopedist told him he needed to be in a boot, and he would be out for a couple of months.
Allen’s first thought?
“All right, well, can I be healthy by the time Ironman comes around?” he asked.
He was told if he did everything right, he should be fine. The Walsh Ironman tournament was scheduled for Dec. 13-14.
Allen healed in time to travel to Ohio for the Ironman event. He got off to a good start and won his first match by major decision.
“Then, the second match, against another nationally ranked opponent, I just rolled it again. That time I didn’t end up winning the match,” said Allen, who did finish the match.
He won his first consolation match by technical fall before calling it quits.
“I really don’t like going out of a tournament with a loss, so I think that’s what drove me to go and get that consolation match out of the way,” Allen said.
After returning from Ohio, Allen saw the orthopedist for a second time and surgery became a possibility. It was thought Allen’s wrestling career (he is verbally committed to the University of Virginia) may be better served by having a pin surgically inserted to his ankle to keep it in place while it could heal. That also would mean the end of his season. He had an MRI to determine the best course of action and waited a week for the results.
“That whole entire time, I was just thinking by myself, ‘What’s going to happen if I have surgery? Am I going to recover? How long is it going to be?’ All those thoughts,” Allen said. “I kind of just wanted to stay away from it, just think about it by myself and think, all right, well, if it does happen, how am I going to overcome that? Luckily, it didn’t.”
The MRI showed surgery wasn’t necessary, but Allen was sidelined with a boot.
Allen’s first match since the Ironman tournament came in the Conference 20 meet Saturday. He pinned all of his opponents, including one in 1:12 for the 152 title. Hanover won the team title and Allen was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.
“I was ready to wrestle. It had been building up all year. I haven’t been able to practice, haven’t been able to step on a mat,” he said. “I was supposed to be coming back a couple of weeks before that, got snowed out, twice. That added a lot more to it. I was definitely ready to roll, all fired up. Just was ready to finally get back on the mat.”
Allen agreed mental strength has been a key part of his persistence this year, a lesson he has been taught since stepping on the wrestling mat.
“Mental toughness. That’s always been drilled into my head since I was little,” he said. “My dad’s coached me all throughout, up until now. Always, whenever we would practice, when I was about 6, 7 years old, ‘You’ve got to be mentally strong. Keep going, we’ll do 10 reps now and you get a 2-second break and you’re going to keep on going. You’re going to be tough, not only physically, but mentally.’
“You’ve got to always mentally prepare, mentally take notes,” Allen added. “And don’t let any outside distractions get you off the tracks of what you want to accomplish.