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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Injured sophomore springs back into action

Just over one month into his season, sophomore Coyte Cooper went through what no athlete wants to experience. At the Midlands Tournament at the end of December, Cooper strained his knee and partially tore his MCL.\nThe injury kept Cooper out until the start of the Big Ten season. Throughout the recovery process, Cooper managed to keep a clear focus.\n"He was a little bit bummed at first," freshman Jack Barnhisel said. "Then he stayed really positive. He rehabbed like crazy."\nBarnhisel said that Cooper would go into the gym and work out two or three times a day. Even though he was unable to wrestle, he went on team trips and displayed a leadership role.\n"Everything that was negative about the situation, he put a positive spin on it," Barnhisel said.\n Cooper has trained hard and is making a run at the end of this season and at the Big Ten Championship. After starting off slow following his return, Cooper has won his last two matches to push his record to 12-5.\n "I'm still working my way back in to it," Cooper said. " It (his knee) is close to 90 percent. It doesn't stop me from wrestling."\n Cooper started off slow, dropping three of his first five matches back, including all of his matches to Big Ten opponents. Cooper credits his coaches and teammates with helping him keep his focus.\n "The coaches reminded me that I would come back even after losses," Cooper said. " (Senior) Viktor Sveda reminded me that the right time would happen."\n Cooper is now looking to build up momentum for the Big Ten and National Championships in the coming weeks. He has three more matches to do so before the start of the Big Ten Championship.\n "Our goals for Coyte are high," head coach Duane Goldman said. " He could be an All-American. He's in a tough weight class. He's shown this year that he can go through any guy in his class. He needs to grow as a wrestler."\n Barnhisel said Cooper seems to be hitting his stride at the right time. Cooper said he rather wait a while to do that.\n" I'd rather be wrestling my best in a month than right now," Cooper said. "One of the things I've always said is to peak at the right time. I want to peak then."\nIf Cooper keeps improving he can expect good results when he wrestles in the Big Ten and National Championships.\n" It'd be an honor to be a National Champion, but I won't be content," Cooper said. "The only thing I'll be happy with is a Big Ten Championship"

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