COVENTRY TWP. Joe Wright is back where he belongs and the senior wrestler is trying to do his part to take Coventry wrestling back where the Comets feel they belong.

Wright, a 126-pounder who won his first 17 matches of the season, grew up wrestling for the Comets, but started his high school career by transferring to St. Vincent-St. Mary. He spent one season wrestling for the Fighting Irish, but came back to Coventry and has settled in as one of the veteran leaders for a team working to take the program back to the lofty heights it enjoyed in past decades.

"I went to St. Vincent-St. Mary, but I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me and coming back to Coventry was good because it feels like home to me," Wright said.

This season, Coventry has a new head coach in Alex Poinar, a 2011 graduate of Hoover High School who came to the program a few years ago and worked with former head coach Chris DeShon, who also has ties to North Canton.

Poinar's stated goal was to bring another state title to add to the five the Comets already have and that long road to the top will take plenty of effort from athletes such as Wright, whose confidence Poinar noted had risen to match his ability on the mat this season.

For Wright, that confidence stems largely from a strong outing he had at a Junior Olympics meet last summer. His time there, competing against some of the best wrestlers in the state, gave him added belief in himself as he began preparing for his senior season.

"I just try to believe in myself. That made me more confident in myself doing well at the Junior Olympics, knowing I could wrestle with anyone in Ohio," Wright said. "I did a lot of practicing in the summer getting ready for the Junior Olympics and taking second place really improved my confidence."

This season, Wright is wrestling at 126 pounds and with 17 wins in his first 17 matches, he has proven that when confidence and ability intersect, the results are often impressive. Much like his head coach and the lofty goal of a team state title, Wright has set his sights high as well.

Knowing that this is his final season of high school wrestling, he wants to make it his best one.

"My goal is a state championship," Wright said. "We don’t talk about goals a lot, but the coaches just tell us to make sure you set your goals high."

One match in the early going that may prove beneficial in the long term if Wright is to reach his goals is his penultimate contest at the North Coast Classic last month, when he felt he didn’t maintain his level of aggressiveness throughout the whole contest.

Feeling that he may have let up a bit and not stayed locked in, Wright came out of that contest with the knowledge that in every match, and especially against the best competition, he needs to keep going forward and attacking for all three periods.

That attacking mindset is one he believes will carry him where he wants to go and through the first two months of the season, the results back up that theory. From here, it’s a matter of taking the remaining steps toward his goals as the degree of difficulty rises with each match.

Reach Andy at andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com
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