Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ridgeview Grappler Sees a State Title within Grasp; Cohens, a Senior, Hasn't Lost in 36 Matches This Season

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ridgeview Grappler Sees a State Title within Grasp; Cohens, a Senior, Hasn't Lost in 36 Matches This Season

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF LEVERS

Off the mat, Ridgeview High School wrestler Stephon Cohens seems like a complacent young man who might not have the edge necessary to succeed in his sport.

But in competition, the senior shows that complacency is really just a quiet confidence in his own ability.

Cohens finished third in the state last year in the 125-pound division, losing only to eventual champion James Brown of Brandon in the quarterfinals.

Cohens returned this year with an extra 5 pounds of muscle and an increased desire to deliver Ridgeview its first state wrestling title in school history.

The state tournament starts today at the Lakeland Center and culminates with the championship finals at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

"My only loss at state last year was to the champion, and he has graduated, so I feel like I can compete for the title this year if I can just stay focused," Cohens said.

Coaches and wrestlers often use that same word - "focused" - when describing Cohens.

In addition to wrestling, Cohens is a dual-enroll student at St. John's River Community College with a 3.8 grade-point average, and he hasn't missed a day of school or practice all year. He's also a leader on the team and helps teammates with wrestling and academics.

Cohens began this season by winning the 130-pound title at the Kiwanis Invitational, beating 125-pound state qualifier Lance Day of Bolles 7-1. Since then, Cohens has kept winning, compiling a 36-0 record and claiming conference, district and regional titles for the second consecutive year.

Ridgeview coach Chris McNealy and his program have come close before, with two state runner-up finishes in 2004 and another last year, but he believes Cohens could be the school's first wrestler to win a state title.

"He has a very tough weight class to go through, but his main competition has all jumped from 119 to 130 pounds since last season, and Stephon wrestled at 125 last year," McNealy said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.