Lovett junior Al Coy reached the pinnacle of his prep career Feb. 15 when he won the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) traditional wrestling Class 3A state championship in the 138-pound division at the Macon Centreplex.
“I was really excited about it,” Coy said. “We didn’t have a state champion last year. We had a great group of seniors this year that really put the team together and were a big part of it. I’ve been working toward this the past couple of years. I got third last year and was looking forward to bringing it home this year.”
Coy finished his junior campaign with an overall record of 66-16. He used previous experiences in Macon to his advantage heading into the event.
“I’ve been coming to the state meet the past three years as either a spectator or with the team,” he said. “That experience prepared me for when I was walking out of the tunnel and seeing all of the fans and the team behind me. I didn’t let the pressure of Macon get to me and blocked it out. I know some guys were getting stressed back there, but paying attention to myself and how I was going to wrestle was important.”
In the semifinals, Coy faced Jackson County senior Nathan McArter, who he had lost to twice in previous meetings. Coy emerged with a 10-3 decision to reach the finals.
“I was confident after winning area and sectionals (titles), but I knew there were some tough guys from around the state,” Coy said. “We planned for matches ahead of time, including my match against McArter. We were ready for some of his moves.”
Coy met senior Allen Stone of Sonoraville in the finals.
“I had wrestled him several times before and knew he liked staying in neutral,” Coy said. “We were prepared for that and knew that if I stayed solid in that position, I could take him down and throw him off his game. We were scoreless after the first period, but I started at the bottom position in the second period because he’s not as strong at top position. I was able to get a reversal.
“I got another reversal and he wasn’t able to ride it out for a long time. I had a 4-2 lead heading into the final period. He chose neutral and knew that I needed to make it through the final two minutes. I went high pressure to keep my offense up and avoid playing defense to end the match. I got a stall call. He went for a back headlock, which I saw coming, shrugged it off, got a takedown and was able to ride out the rest of the match.”
Cox won the state title with an 8-2 decision over Stone.
“Al is a very poised wrestler that is calm on and off the mat,” Lovett coach Billy Maldonado said. “He does not get rattled and is very unpredictable. His unorthodox style makes it difficult for his opponents to figure him out. I am proud of him because he works very hard and is also a three-sport varsity athlete in cross country, wrestling and soccer. His title means a lot to our program because he wins the right way by working hard and buying into the Lovett wrestling mentality.”
Coy, who has attended Lovett since kindergarten, began wrestling with the school’s youth program.
“We have a great middle school program and started again in the seventh grade after not wrestling in the fifth or sixth grade,” Coy said. “I went undefeated in middle school, which was a big boost for me heading into high school. The middle school program sets kids up for success.”
He lists Bo Nickal, a four-time All-American, three-time NCAA champion and Hodge Trophy winner at Penn State as well as the 2019 U23 Senior World Champion, as his favorite wrestler. Coy enjoys many parts of the sport.
“I like the challenge and single-person aspect of it,” he said. “As much as it’s a challenge of you against the other guy, it’s also as much about you versus yourself in the practice room and the mat in tournaments. I love the team aspect and the family that is wrestling. Everyone is going through it together and that bond is unbreakable.”
Coy stays active throughout the school year athletically as a member of Lovett’s cross country and soccer teams.
“You have to keep yourself balanced and not just let athletics get in the way of the social aspect and academics of high school,” he said.
The son of Betty and Sean Coy has a 3.8 grade-point-average and lists Spanish and marine biology as his favorite subjects. He enjoys bass fishing, particularly on the Chattahoochee River and at the Lovett campus.