All-City wrestling: How Choctaw's Zane Coleman overcame pneumonia to become a 4-time state champ
CHOCTAW — Zane Coleman struggled to breathe.
The longer his matches went, the harder it became to do something that should be simple for a high school wrestling phenom. It started in January and cleared up only about a week ago.
The Choctaw senior had pneumonia. His lungs were functioning at 30 percent capacity.
“I’ve been hurt, and being hurt doesn’t compare to not being able to breathe,” Coleman said. “When you wrestle, you can figure out ways not to use that arm as much. You have to use your lungs no matter what. It was a rough time.”
Even with the restricted breathing, Coleman became the 37th high school wrestler in state history to capture four state titles. The Arizona State signee capped his final season with a 41-1 record and a Class 6A title at 170 pounds, defeating Broken Arrow’s Bryce Mattioda 1-0 in the championship match.
Coleman is The Oklahoman’s All-City Wrestler of the Year.
“He didn’t go through a full practice from Christmas on,” said Benny Coleman, Choctaw’s coach and Zane’s father. “The doctor knew what he was doing, going for his fourth title. He didn’t stop him from doing it, but as soon as wrestling was over, they shut him down.”
Right before Christmas, Zane was battling infectious mononucleosis. As his breathing deteriorated in early January, he and Benny thought it was the mono, but that’s when they found out Zane also had pneumonia.
His approach had to change. Zane could no longer dominate opponents because he would quickly exhaust his energy, but he was still talented enough to win. He took a defensive approach instead of constantly pressuring his foes.
In the state title bout, Zane began the third period on top and rode Mattioda for two minutes to secure his title. Benny Coleman said he had to use timeouts nearly every match as the season progressed to help Zane get his breathing under control in the longer duals.
If Zane exerted too much energy, he would panic because he felt as if he was drowning.
“I changed my style up completely,” Zane said. “I shut my offense down.”
Breathing problems aside, Zane still became Choctaw’s second four-time state champ, joining Kyle Garcia, who accomplished the feat in 2012.
Zane said it was during regionals his freshman year he first thought of becoming a four-time champion. Now he looks at the list and his name is on it, making it a little easier to breathe knowing what he was able to accomplish.
“It’s great company to be a part of,” Zane said. “I’m really happy to be a part of it.”