Athlete of Week: Practice makes perfect for Coppola

cfwrestle-ccoppolaaowTwo months into Carolina Forest wrestler Christian Coppola’s senior season and the 132-pounder has yet to lose a match. But  his 30-0 record and No. 4 state ranking are just two of the reasons he was voted the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week.

“I’ve spent the last year training three or four times a day,” said Coppola, clarifying that he indeed meant to say “day” instead of “week” about his workout routine. “I wasn’t thinking about going undefeated. My goal has always been to win a state championship and this is my last chance. I still have a long way to go.”

Almost as impressive as Coppola’s performance on the mat is the work he has put into training during the offseason, and the teamwork he has helped inspire in the troubled Panthers’ program. He transferred from North Myrtle Beach as a junior after Carolina Forest had been through a series of coaching changes and a scandal that threatened future success.

But, with help of a few dedicated teammates who have helped keep the team together, Coppola and the Panthers have thrived this season. The Panthers are in position to end a recent drought of Region 6-4A titles, and Coppola is on pace to reach his ultimate goal of winning an individual state championship. He credits a simple recipe of hard work and team work.

“Over the past season I feel like everyone on the team has improved a lot,” said Coppola, citing the team’s offseason involvement in the Grand Strand Wrestling Club for the free, year-round training. “Everyone has been putting in the work and has a good attitude. Everyone is working hard together and that’s what teamwork is all about.”

With the season winding down, Coppola is keeping his focus on the match at hand to help him and his team win their respective titles. The Panthers can wrap up the region title in next week’s quad before the postseason gets under way. Coppola will then try to qualify for his third straight state tournament, and he hopes the third time is a charm.

“The first time I was real nervous because it was new to me, but this time it will feel like another match,” Coppola said. “I know I’ve worked hard and done all I can do, so I just want to do my best to win a state title, or at least place in the top three, and then start looking at places to wrestle in college.”

Coppola is proud of his perfect record, but he knows the most important thing is to finish the season on a winning streak.

Photo by Prep Stars Media

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