Dec. 4, 2013
Off to a strong start in his rookie season, freshman Adam Coon will face his first big test at this weekend's Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The heralded heavyweight recruit, who listed as the No. 2 overall prospect, is 8-0 and ranked as high as No. 13 in the national polls. He won the freshman/sophomore heavyweight title in his collegiate debut at the MSU Open before winning four straight dual matches, including a 7-2 decision over Oregon State's Amarveer Dhesi, turning around a loss from the summer freestyle season.
As the Wolverines prepared to hit the road, Coon took a few minutes to talk about his adjustment to college wrestling, the biggest change from high school and his readiness for this weekend's tournament.
Q: How to you think you're transitioning into college wrestling?
A: I'm just doing the best that I can right now. I have coaches who are continuing to push me, and I'm just trying to follow their guidance. The great practice partners I've had in the room have helped me develop quicker than, what I assume, a lot of other freshmen. I feel like I'm doing well. But there's definitely more improvements to be made.
Q: What's been the biggest adjustment for you?
A: In high school, I did a lot more work on my feet. There's no riding time, so I didn't have to worry about riding out my opponents. It's much easier to escape on a high schooler than collegiate guys who's looking for riding time. I've had to work so much harder on top-bottom wrestling. I'm working to get riding time and get out a lot quicker. I've always been trained to get out as quick as possible, and it seems to be working so far.
Q: Obviously with heavyweight you're dealing with some big guys, and one of the biggest questions for a true freshman is the strength factor. Have you had any difficulty with that or are you pretty comfortable?
A: I'm comfortable right now. Our strength coaches put us through hard workouts, so I think I'm developing strength. There have been times where I feel a little outmuscled. That's why it's good to work with the practice partners I have, because they can outmuscle me. I've got to work on my footwork and try to get faster than them and move away that muscle and use it to my advantage.
Q: What are your goals for this weekend? Not just wins ... what do you want to do match to match?
A: I want to get offensive takedowns going. In my matches so far, I've been too defensive. I've got to trust in my training and go after it. I want to get some offensive takedowns going, wrestle my best match the way I know I can wrestle and let the chips fall where they may.
Q: Are you excited for this weekend? You've had some good matches so far this year, but this is the first big test.
A: This is definitely going to be a big test, and I'm excited to see how things are going to play out. I'm a little nervous because there's going to be top-notch guys there. But I'm also excited because there's going to be top-notch guys there.
Previous Spotlight: Eric Grajales
New season tickets now on sale. » Learn about 2015-16 Michigan wrestling season ticket opportunities.