New Albany High School wrestler Mac Ferguson is making the most of his senior season.

New Albany High School wrestler Mac Ferguson is making the most of his senior season.

After sitting out his junior year while recovering from a shoulder injury, he had compiled a 25-6 record at 182 pounds after going 4-1 in the Cruiser Invitational on Jan. 28 at Groveport. The ideal ending to his comeback, he said, would be to advance to the Division I state tournament.

"I'm happy so far because it's looking like a possibility," he said. "I know I've worked real hard to make it back."

Ferguson underwent shoulder surgery following the 2010 football season. He then faced five months of rehabilitation.

"It hasn't always been easy, of course, but I just had to keep pushing myself," he said. "I've had a lot of help from my coaches and teammates, too."

An 8-2 victory over Olentangy Orange senior captain Dakota Taylor in a home dual match Jan. 26 is one for Ferguson's personal highlight reel. He never trailed and was technically sound.

"This is the first time I've faced him," Ferguson said of Taylor. "I guess that's one of the bad things about missing a whole season. I prepare the same way every time, though, and I did really well."

The Pioneers won the OCC-Capital Division dual 52-15, but two of Ferguson's classmates, Josh Park (132) and Tommy Chamberlain (152), also won their matches as the Eagles honored their seven seniors. The others are Ryan Cao, Eric Manias, Jack Powers and Johna Charles, who competed in a junior varsity match after returning from an injury.

"Orange is a quality team," New Albany assistant coach John Galbreath said. "We snuck in there and won a few of them, anyway. Mac looked really good."

Another big moment of late for Ferguson came when he defeated Johnstown's Clayton Bullard by one point in overtime in pool wrestling during the New Albany Invitational on Jan. 21.

Bullard, who was a Division III district qualifier a year ago, went on to place first in the pool while Ferguson was third.

"I know him; he's a neighbor of ours," Ferguson said of Bullard. "That was pretty cool."

Ferguson, who was the team's only champion in the Falcon Invitational on Dec. 17 at Clarksville Clinton-Massie, can remember when the Eagles were a Division III team for wrestling. They moved up from Division II in 2009-10, and Matt Odierno became the program's first Division I state qualifier last season. He won one consolation match at 215 to finish his senior season with a 43-7 record.

"Matt was a huge leader in both football and wrestling," said Ferguson, who posted a 16-13 record at 171 as a sophomore. "Him getting to state, that really made a believer out of me. That's motivation for all of us."