Prep wrestling: Tooele's Zach Coffman out to defend title
When Tooele's Zach Coffman steps into the ring, he can see it in his opponent's eyes.
Sometimes it looks like a touch of apprehension. More often, it looks like vengeance.
Every time, it's the look of someone eager to dethrone a state champion.
"I can't really worry about it, though," said Coffman, who won the Class 3A state wrestling title at 170 pounds last season. "The more you worry about it, the worse you do."
His record proves he's cool and collected.
As just a freshman, Coffman emerged as a state title threat after he captured his region title at 145 pounds. He advanced to the Class 4A semifinals that same year.
A year later, he reached the 4A state championship match at 152 pounds, coming up just short against Box Elder's Koleton Hardy. A year, a classification and two weight classes later, he captured his first state title.
This season, Coffman was named to the 3A All-Star Team, earned the Outstanding Wrestler award at the Best of the West tournament and captured his fourth consecutive region title. Now he's ready to earn his second consecutive state title, this time at 182 pounds.
"For me, it's just been about working hard in every single workout," he said. "If you just keep training hard, you're going to get better."
He certainly has winning down to a science. With each new weight class, however, comes a new strategy.
"[At 182 pounds] it's more of a slow-paced strength battle," Coffman said. "But I definitely like a faster-paced match. I like to get in and get the job done."
So each morning he spends a few hours in the gym working on his speed and agility, working to gain an upper hand in a class more focused on raw strength than strategy. It's the same after school, when he puts in another couple of hours with his teammates to perfect his championship ways.
"He just needs to go out and be the aggressor," said his father, Tooele coach Gary Coffman. "They'll come at him, but he needs to wrestle his match instead of adjusting to theirs."
He's used to following his own path anyway.
Unlike many wrestlers, Coffman is a three-sport athlete and puts his most prominent sport on hold during the football and baseball seasons. According to both Coffmans, it's an opportunity to recharge.
"By the time wrestling comes around, I'm ready to get after it," Zach Coffman said.
It took Coffman a bit longer to get going on the mat this season due to a lingering foot injury from football season.
But not long enough to hurt his record. Heading into the state tournament, Coffman holds a 30-2 record this season and a stellar 196-16 record on his high-school career.
But now, at the twilight of his time at Tooele, there's only one tournament that matters.
"If I just go with the flow of things and keep working hard, it'll come [at state]," he said.
Meet Zach Coffman
Tooele's Zach Coffman won the Class 3A state title at 170 pounds last season. Now wrestling at 182 pounds, he is prepared to wrestle for his second consecutive state title at the UCCU Center on Feb. 15 and 16.
Coffman became a four-time region champion and earned his fourth consecutive Outstanding Wrestler award at the Region 11 championships Saturday.
He has racked up a 30-2 record and 20 pins this season. His overall career record stands at an impressive 196-16.