Justin also took care of business in the classroom, while helping his school and community in diverse ways.
For his standout effort, Kozera was the winner of The Eagle’s Winter Sports Student-Athlete award.
Most of Justin Kozera’s wrestling opponents this year held a significant weight advantage when they faced him.
They never had a chance.
“I’ve been around the sport long enough to know that you develop a different style for each person that you wrestle,” Kozera said.
“Sometimes I tried to out-muscle my opponents, but usually I’d try to outthink them.”
Kozera won wrestling’s 285-pound state championship this year, after capturing the 215-pound title in 2010.
He finished with a perfect 40-0 record. Only six of his matches went the distance, with Kozera recording 34 pins.
He was the catalyst for Winters Mill’s first-ever state team wrestling crown — and led his younger teammates with a winning attitude and a calm demeanor.
“I told our new kids to just calm down when we went there (to College Park),” said Kozera, whose 124-10 career record includes 110 pins. “I knew they would have some jitters and be a little tight.
“To win an individual title, and then to see the team win it all, was amazing,” he said.
“Justin is like having another assistant coach,” said Falcon head coach John Lowe. “He could immediately see how different personalities affected the team, who needed a push here and there, and who needed to work on technique.”
On his way to dominating the competition this year, Kozera surrendered just one point in 40 matches — and that was in the state final. In 78 career varsity matches, Kozera gave up just 14 total points.
That’s unheard of.