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Local student wins bronze at Pan-Am Wrestling Championship

Luke Coffin, of Amherstview, brings home a bronze medal after placing third at the Pan-America Games Wrestling Championship in June. Submitted photo.

Last month, Luke Coffin, Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School student and wrestling heavy-weight champion of the Cadet Division (U17), represented Canada at the Pan-American (Pan-Am) Wrestling Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Coffin, who placed third at the international games, is the first athlete to represent the Kingston Wrestling Club at the international level in nine years.

According to a release from the Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB), Coffin was invited to join the national team, Wrestling Canada Lutte (WCL), after placing first in the men’s 110 kg U17 division at the 2022 Canadian Wrestling Trials in Edmonton in May.

Coffin, his father, and a group of Canadian wrestlers, arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina a couple of days ahead of the games, which ran from June 24 to 26. According to the school board, the athletes used the few days leading up to the competition dates to train.

“Looking back, I can confidently say that I had all the preparedness required going into the Pan-Am Games,” said Coffin. “I knew that whoever I faced, I would be challenged, but knowing I had all the skills, strength, durability and technique to compete fairly, allowed me to perform under pressure.”

Coffin, who will be entering grade 12 at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School this fall, attended BGC South East (formerly the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston & Area) as a youngster and credits the organization for his introduction to the sport and the coaching staff at the Kingston Wrestling Club. Coffin also competes at the high school level, and has been training with the Kingston Wrestling Club for the past six years under the supervision of Head Coach and Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School teacher, Marcus Niemann.

Niemann, who in addition to running the Kingston Wrestling Club coaches’ teams at both Holy Cross and Regiopolis-Notre Dame, said he admires Luke for his work ethic and commitment.

“Luke’s character is the epitome of hard work and dedication; those are the things we as coaches cannot teach. Luke’s dedication to this sport is unmatched, this is a kid who never skips a practice, who always comes prepared to work hard and who always shows up ready to compete. It is an honour for the ALCDSB and for the city of Kingston to have our youth represented by an athlete who is as hard-working and deserving as Luke,” he said.

According to the release, Niemann began coaching Coffin when he was in the sixth grade at Fairfield Public School and encouraged Coffin to attend Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School for both the athletic and academic opportunities the school could offer him.

“At 16 years of age there is no better growth experience than to have the opportunity to represent your county on the world stage,” said Niemann. “And there is no better feeling than coming home with a winning medal!”

Coffin was one of the seven Canadian athletes to bring home a medal last week, and is the first Kingston Wrestling Club member to compete in the Pan-Am Games since Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School graduate Chris Waldner (U19) competed in the Junior Pan-Am Wrestling Championships in 2010, according to the release.

Though Coffin has decided not to carry on and compete at the United World Wrestling Championships in Rome, Italy later this month, he will be attending an intensive training camp at Ohio State University next weekend, ALCDSB stated. Then, later in July, he will compete at a Tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“Competing at the Pan-Am Games was the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Coffin. “Though selected to compete with the World Team, I will not be going onto Rome, but will continue to train in Canada and the USA with an ultimate goal of competing in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles!”

According to the release, Coffin’s participation at the Pan-America Wrestling Championship was made possible through the generous support of ALCSDB graduate Pat Murphy and the team at Secura Wish Financial.

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