Warren’s Coffron shines in tourney

John Coffron

FRONT ROYAL — John Coffron didn’t expect to win the Conference 28 126-pound wrestling title last weekend. The Warren County junior just wanted to qualify for regionals, but once he won his first match momentum started to swing his way.

Coffron, who entered the Conference 28 tournament with a losing record and was the fifth seed, strung together three victories to pull out the title.

He said he was motivated after a poor showing the week before in the Bull Run District tournament.

“I kind of felt like I hurt my team [in the Bull Run District tournament],” Coffron said. “So I really wanted to do good in conference to show that I could help the team, too. In the conference tournament there was a chance that we could all make it on to regionals, and I didn’t want to be the one kid who didn’t.”

Coffron’s stellar performance at the Conference 28 tournament earned him the Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for Feb. 1-Feb. 7.

Coffron beat Rock Ridge’s Adam Cerow, 6-5, avenging a loss from earlier in the season. One of the wrestlers at 126 pounds didn’t make the weight, so by advancing to the semifinals Coffron had already secured a regional spot. In the semifinals, Coffron had to wrestle top seed Alex Galvan, of Loudoun Valley.

Coffron pinned him at 4:56 to advance to the final.

“I think when we told him [he had advanced to regionals] the pressure was off,” Warren County coach Matt Wadas said. “He could go out there and he knew win or lose he was going to regionals. I think that without that pressure he came out loose, relaxed. The other kid had all the pressure on him being the one seed and I think he tightened up and John took advantage.”

Coffron then beat John Champe’s Ethan Vicario, 4-1, in the final to secure his first-ever medal and first Conference 28 title.

“Winning conference feels like pretty much the biggest achievement I’ve ever had in my life, when it comes to sports and getting trophies and medals,” Coffron said. “It was exhilarating to have that.”

One of the things that made Coffron’s win even more remarkable is the fact that it’s only his second year wrestling.

Coffron said he decided to try out last year for Warren County’s JV wrestling team after current teammates Brett Binnix and Jackie Beglane told him he should give the sport a try. Coffron said he wrestled at 113 last year on the JV team.

He said he finished sixth in the year-ending JV Super Regional, after having to forfeit two matches due to injury. Coffron said his main goal this year was to make the varsity team.

Coffron not only made the varsity team this season, but also became a starter at 126 pounds. Unfortunately, Wadas said 126 was a very tough weight class, and so Coffron suffered some tough quality losses throughout the season.

He entered the Conference 28 tournament with a 12-18 record.

“I just told him there’s nothing wrong with your wrestling,” Wadas said. “You just gotta stay the course and it’s a testament to the kid, because there’s a lot of kids that probably would have quit or given up. He had a losing record going into districts, and had a tough week [in the district tournament] and just kept with it, and it shows hard work can pay off.”

Coffron was one of eight Warren County wrestlers to advance to the Conference 28 finals, which helped the Wildcats win the team title.

The Wildcats will be in the Region 3A East tournament Friday and Saturday at New Kent High School. Warren County has 13 wrestlers in the tournament. Wadas said the team has to put last week’s success behind them.

“It’s a new week and our kids got to understand that,” Wadas said. “This is not the top of the mountain. Conference win was awesome, but we want to get to states — that’s our goal.”

It’s also the goal for Coffron. After last week’s success he’s hoping he can build off of that in the regional tournament.

“I want to win my matches and make it on to states,” Coffron said. “I don’t want to be somebody who wins conference and then gets knocked out in two matches. My goal is to work really hard this week, so that I can continue to succeed.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com