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Two-sport star Coon pins down wrestling; named Junior Schalles Award winner
By Mike Finn
Less than 24 hours before Adam Coon was wrestling for a spot on the United States Junior World Team in Stillwater, Okla., the heavyweight from Michigan was nowhere near a wrestling mat.
Instead, the graduate of Fowlerville High School was playing football in the Michigan High School Coaches All-Star game in Allendale, Mich., on June 22.
“It’s kind of tough,” said Coon two days before the game was played. “You just have to set your priorities.
“I have to make sure I make it a great football game and be a great team player, but do all the individual wrestling stuff like early in the morning when everyone is sleeping and I’m out running to help with my conditioning.”
For his efforts, Coon — a four-time Michigan state wrestling champion and all-state lineman — was able to say good-bye to a prep football career that was somewhat bittersweet considering his high school team finished 1-8 last fall.
“It’s a huge honor to play in this all-star game, something I could not pass up,” said Coon, who will wrestle in college at the University of Michigan.
And even though he failed to qualify for a spot on the Junior World Team — losing to current Oklahoma State sophomore Austin Marsden in men’s freestyle — Coon will carry a pretty impressive wrestling resume to Ann Arbor in the fall. He’ll also be focused on an important goal: pinning.
And among Coon’s notable wrestling accomplishments included pinning all 40 of his high school foes this past winter, which in turn earned the heavyweight the 2013 Junior Schalles Award for pinning.
“This is the first time we’ve ever had a wrestler win the Schalles or Junior Schalles Awards who pinned every opponent he faced all year long,” said Wade Schalles, of whom the award is named in honor of after he pinned 106 foes while wrestling for Clarion (Pa.) University in the early 1970s.
“Going into the season, I definitely wanted to be a dominant wrestler and set a goal to try to get as many pins as possible,” recalled Coon. “As the season progressed, I realized I was pinning a lot of people. I changed my goal to pin everyone.”
Coon said many of his falls came from the neutral position.
“Against the heavier guys, they are so big,” he said. “Most of my pins came from power doubles when I’d take them square to their backs.”
But Coon made sure he’d get a good workout before seeing his high school matches end in less than six minutes.
“Even if I had a quick pin, I always made it a mental goal to get three takedowns in before I pinned anyone,” he said.
Coon said his maturity helped him reach his final high school goals.
“As a senior, I was competing against guys more my age,” he said. “While competing as a freshman, there were guys so much older than me.” But he added he has a long way to go before tackling college wrestling’s big men.
“I have to work on my low-level shots because heavyweights are moving a lot more,” said Coon, who has trained with members of the Cliff Keen Regional Training Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“I do a lot of upper-body work and working out with Kyle Massey, who is freakishly strong (and competed at the Senior-level World Team Trials in Stillwater a day before Coon wrestled). “I can’t do a lot of upper-body stuff with him so I have to work on my lower-level shots and I have to stay in good position.”
One thing that will really be different for Coon in the future is that he will no longer have his father, Dan Coon, the head coach at Fowlerville High School, in his corner.
“It’s going to be a completely different experience,” Adam said. “Throughout the years, he’s been in my corner but the last few years he’s been trying to get me other coaches to work with. It’s been kind of a transition.
“I’m looking forward to the new experience.”
Runner-ups for the award given to the top high school pinner were top-ranked Kyle Snyder (220) of Good Counsel High School (MD) and Jacob Schmitt (130) of St. John’s High School (MI). Snyder pinned 45 foes in 55 matches wrestled. Schmitt pinned 40 out of 43.