Make no mistake about it — Adam Coon is looking to pick up right where he left off. The fifth-year senior wrestler was forced to miss the entirety of the 2016-2017 season due to injury. Now, he’s looking to rebound in his final season.
Coon got his first chance to wrestle this year on Friday night during the Michigan wrestling team’s intrasquad meet at the Bahna Wrestling Center. It didn’t take long for him to prove he hasn’t lost much, as he pinned freshman Zachary Nemec in the second round, solidifying his place as the Wolverines’ starter.
“It was nice to see a lot of good wrestling out of everybody,” Coon said. “There are definitely some areas that need to get worked on, but that’s to be expected early in the season.”
Coon, in particular, has some work to do as he attempts to get back to the peak performance that led him to a top-three finish in the NCAA Championships. He has spent time tweaking his footwork, which was on display Friday as he executed three quick takedowns of Nemec in the first period.
“Lot of work on the feet, top-bottom as well,” Coon said. “I mean, there’s just a lot of work all around — just trying to get me back moving again because going from sitting on the couch from surgery to back on the mat is a long process.”
While it is no surprise that a season-ending injury is not easy to come back from, Coon has used his forced time off to plug some holes in his game. By making the best of a bad situation, Coon hopes that the rest of his game will follow suit.
“I’ve also gained certain areas that I worked over the summer,” Coon said. “So I worked a lot of leg attacks and leg defensive stuff which was stuff that kind of hindered me. I was really good upper body — and we still worked that, but just working on becoming a better all-around wrestler.”
Coon is going to need all the refinement he can get as he looks to secure a national title, which has eluded him over his four years at Michigan. As a sophomore, Coon finished second in the NCAA Championships posting a 4-1 record in the tournament. As a junior, he finished third with a 5-1 record.
This year, the road will surely go through an old face: that of two-time NCAA champion and Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder of Ohio State.
“I want to win it all,” said Coon. “I mean, that’s definitely the goal — that’s the goal for any wrestler, to win it all. You know, a lot of people might say that I have the toughest route to get there because you gotta go through (Kyle) Snyder to do it and all the other good heavyweights that are in the weight class.”
In addition to his competition among wrestlers across the Big Ten, Coon seeks to elevate the performance of his teammates with intrasquad competition.
“Another goal I’m shooting for is that I’m going for the most falls this year,” said Coon. “I’m trying to beat everyone else on this team. We have a little rivalry going, and we have a lot of guys saying, ‘No, I’m going to get the most falls,’ so there’s definitely some internal motivation.”
Regardless of who finishes as the pin champion of the team, Coon is confident that motivation from his teammates and work in the weight room can propel him to a national championship.