Corby inflicts pain on the wrestling mat with aggressive style

Andrew Kuhn/Staff Photographer Sophmore 149-pounder Donnie Corby wrestles Virginia's Derek Valenti Friday at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia, Penn. Corby lost to Valenti by a decision of 6-2.

The tenacity that Central Michigan wrestler Donnie Corby possessed has manifested into a controlled aggression he believes will push him to new heights this season.

“I like to really get physical,” Corby said. “I think the last couple years I got too physical, too aggressive. I found that you need to really slow things down and work through your moves.”

He will never partake in a style that requires being on the edge of the circle, one resembling boxer Muhammad Ali clinging on the ropes.

“I’m not really the kind of guy that’s bouncing around, diving at ankles, staying away from the guy,” Corby said. “I like to get in and get physical with the guy and move him around. (I am) always in your face, relentless, always after the guy, don’t give him time to breath.”

CMU head coach Tom Borrelli agrees with his evaluation.

“He’s kind of a brawler,” he said. “He’s learned to be more technical. He’s a very physical wrestler.”

Corby lost in the opening round to eventual national champion Kyle Dake of Cornell in his first NCAA Tournament appearance last year, finishing with a 25-16 record.

He was disappointed, but he believes he will learn from the experience.

“Everyone says, 'Good job,' but you don’t train in the offseason just to go to nationals,” Corby said. “(However) it was the best thing for me. I think you learn more from your losses than your wins.”

Borrelli said he made “big strides” in his first full season starting and said if he continues the same path, he will be successful.

“If he does make improvements, the sky is the limit for him: conference championship, All-American, maybe even make the national finals,” he said.

However, his success did not amount to a scholarship from the Chippewas right away.

But after his first semester at CMU, Borrelli would not let Corby continue without one any longer, giving him a scholarship.

“A lot of times you just don’t know what type a kid someone is,” Borrelli said. “How hard of a worker they are, where there skills are, how important wrestling is to them and also how important getting an education is to them. We found out pretty quick that all those things are pretty important to Donnie.”

The junior’s contributions to the team came from his love of the sport.

“It’s you against the other guy,” Corby said. “It’s kind of like bringing it back down to survival of the fittest. It gives you a different satisfaction. All the hard work you put in that you get the credit for and then also if you lose, you can’t blame it on somebody else.”

Corby looks to improve at the 157-pound division after struggling off the mat at 149 pounds.

He participated in exhausting workouts before matches, reducing his weight last season.

“Any time you’re fighting the scale all of the time, it detracts from your preparation,” Borrelli said. “You’re putting more time into keeping your weight down than you are into working out and being a better athlete as far as working on your technique and your conditioning.”

Corby already sees the benefits from not having to adhere to strenuous pre-match activities.

“I have a lot more energy,” he said. “I’m practicing a lot better and I can actually drink water and go home and actually have a good meal.”

His skills are not his only aspects.

He is an Academic All-Mid-American Conference honoree and serves on the student-athlete advisory committee.

“You’re not just here to be an athlete, you’re not here to be a jock, you also have more to bring to the table like your academics and getting in the community and show that you’re here to support,” Corby said.