Chandler Amaker will join the Central Michigan University wrestling program for the upcoming school year.
Amaker, a home-schooled student who wrestled for Fort Dorchester, signed a national letter of intent with Central Michigan on May 27. As a two-time state champion and honors graduate with a 3.9 GPA, Amaker had multiple colleges interested in him. He has a great uncle who coaches at Central Michigan.
“I just love the way those guys wrestle up there,” Amaker said. “It’s a different style of wrestling. It looks like I might redshirt my freshman year because that would give me a good shot at starting the next four years, but I’m anxious to get there and start training with those guys and getting used to their caliber of wrestling.”
Fort Dorchester coach Andrew Young, who earned All-American honors as a Newberry College wrestler, said Central Michigan will be a good place for Amaker to continue developing.
“With any sport when you pick a college you need a good fit, somewhere you can grow as an athlete and have great teammates,” Young said. “I feel he will be around like-minded teammates there and they have had a lot of success. I think it’s a perfect fit for him.”
Amaker didn’t lose during the 2020-21 high school season. He capped a perfect season (12-0) by claiming the Class AAAAA title at 170 pounds. His honors include Region 8-AAAAA wrestler of the year, Summerville Communications wrestler of the year and Post and Courier wrestler of the year.
Last year he won a state title at 145 pounds. As a sophomore he was the state runner-up at 138. As a freshman he was the Lower State champion and state runner-up at 106 and helped the Patriots claim the Class AAAAA Lower State championship and finish second in the state.
This April, Amaker placed second at 160 during the National High School Coaches Association Nationals tournament at Virginia Beach.
“Chandler has that need to get better,” Young said. “He just grinds and loves the process. He watches film and texts me all the time about how he can get better. He likes to throw ideas back and forth. He doesn’t focus as much on the end result as he does the process of getting better. He wants to go out every day and do his best.”
Now Amaker has his sights set on becoming an elite wrestler at the collegiate level, something he and former Fort Dorchester assistant coach Skip Parker talked about often prior to Parker’s death last August.
“Coach Skip was there since I first started wrestling,” Amaker said of Parker, who died from cancer at 49. “He is a big part of the things I’m doing now. I promised him I would compete in college and no matter what happens give it everything I have, so now that’s what I’m going to do. He really helped me a lot and made me feel special. He was such a good guy and I miss him.”
Amaker plans to major in criminal justice. He said after college he would like to give MMA fighting a try and pursue a career in law enforcement.