Coon takes two bronzes at World Championships

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By Zach Shaw, Daily Sports Writer
Published September 2, 2014

It’s not difficult to realize that heavyweight wrestler Adam Coon excels on the mat.

For the fans at the FILA Junior World Tournament in Zagreb, Croatia, it took less than a day. In case they forgot, he reminded them four days later.

At the championships Aug. 6-10, the Michigan sophomore went a combined 8-2 with five pins against world-class competition to take bronze in both the Greco-Roman and freestyle divisions.

“I feel like I wrestled pretty well,” Coon said in a video interview with FloWrestling. “I tried to push the pace as much as possible. I went out there to dominate, and there were some matches that I did dominate.”

Coon began his week by pinning Stepan David of the Czech Republic at the 45-second mark. He followed with an 8-5 comeback win over Korea’s Seungchan Lee and a pin of Hungary’s Adam Mertse in the quarterfinals.

The lone defeat of Coon’s day was to Sergey Semenov of Russia, the eventual gold medalist. Coon rebounded after a long break, though, by pinning Japan’s Arata Sonoda in the opening minute to preserve bronze.

“I had some ups and downs through it,” Coon said, “and got caught in some positions I didn’t like and got beat up a little bit here and there. But I kept working to battle back and got the fall that I needed (to secure bronze).”

Coon’s bronze was the only U.S. medal in any Greco-Roman weight class, but the Michigan standout wasn’t content with just one medal.

Coon — more comfortable in the freestyle — maintained his initial impression by breezing to another 4-1 record four days later. His day began with consecutive 10-0 technical falls over China’s Qiang Tao and India’s Rangi Roubaljeet, and he added a pin over Azerbaijan’s Oyan Nazaryani.

Like earlier in the week, the semifinals proved troublesome for Coon. Facing familiar foe Amar Dhesi of Canada, Coon fell in a heated 7-6 decision. Struggling early, Coon mustered a comeback and looked poised for a one-point victory with 18 seconds to go.

But confusion with scoring stopped the match, giving Dhesi time to recover, and he tallied a two-point takedown with just five seconds left to seal the victory. Coon pinned Turkey’s Yusuf Emre Dede in the next match to take bronze, but the loss stung.

“I was digging that underhook the entire match,” Coon said. “I had that body lock and knew I could get it. He kept square with me, so I figured I go with that body lock, toss it and see what happens.

“You have to put the previous match behind you and get after it in the last match. I’m happy for the bronze but upset for the loss that came with it.”

Despite aspirations for gold, Coon settled for medaling twice despite being one of just two wrestlers from any country to compete in both styles at the event.

“It was a bit of a juggling act going between two teams,” Coon said. “But it was nice to have all those teammates supporting me. I couldn’t have done it without the coaching staffs or my teammates. They were the ones pushing me and helping me.”