The Haverford School senior 220-pounder captured his first Pennsylvania Independent Schools Wrestling Tournament title, defeating University of Maryland commit Mansur Abdul-Malik, 7-6, in the championship final. He then finished third at National Preps, earning All-American honors. He will wrestle for Division I Campbell University next winter. Off the mat, Kober is the president of an organization that he and his brother started at Haverford called Athletes Helping Athletes (AHA), an organization that provides funding, awareness, and community awareness for special needs athletes.
Q: Tell us a little about the Pennsylvania Independent Schools championship final against Abdul-Mailk, going against a foe that you had wrestled twice earlier this season. What was the key point in the match – can you describe it for us? What was your first reaction when the match ended?
A: Going into my match against Mansur, my goal was to push the pace of the match, tire him out and take advantage of how strong my conditioning was. I lost to him twice earlier in the year and knew that he would get tired going into the third period, and that’s when I started to open up my offense. A key point in the match was towards the end of the second period when it was tied 4-4. With about 1:25 left, I blocked one of Mansur’s shots, countered with a re-attack of my own and scored to go ahead 6-4. Going into the third period, Mansur chose bottom, reversed me with about a minute left in the match making it all tied up again. I then escaped with about 50 seconds left, blocked off all of his attacks and won the match 7-6. After getting my hand raised, my first reaction was to go over and give my parents and my little brother, Frankie, a hug and a kiss.
Q: What was your most memorable moment at National Preps – can you share it with us?
A: My most memorable moment at National Preps was my third-place match. Going into the third period I was losing by one and needed a takedown to win the match. With about 5 seconds left, I took my opponent down on the edge of the mat and stayed in to secure the two points. I then kept my opponent down for the last 5 seconds to take third.
Q: What do you consider your best match this season, and what was working particularly well for you that day?
A: My best match this season was a match that occurred early in the year at Beast of the East. It was my second match of the day, and I was wrestling a kid who was seeded ahead of me. I won the match 3-2. Everything seemed to be working for me in that match. I had constant pressure and heavy hands that wore my opponent out, and my re-attack was relentless. Although I did not score a whole lot of points, I wrestled technically sound and came out on top.
Q: What do you consider your biggest strength and what you are working on most currently?
A: My biggest strength as a wrestler is my conditioning. Being able to have constant pressure on my opponent helped me win a lot of my matches. One thing that I am working in is putting two shots together to score. If one shot isn’t there, I am working on flowing into my next shot right away.
Q: Who has been your biggest wrestling mentor, and what is the biggest thing he taught you?
A: My biggest wrestling mentor over my last four years of high school is my brother Mickey. Mickey has taught me how to be mentally and physically tough on the mat. He also encourages me to strive for greatness not only on the mat, but also academically.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-match preparation the day of a match.
A: I like to get a nice sweat in before I go out and wrestle a match. You can usually find me sprinting back and forth in the gym, chopping my feet, doing high knees and some stance and motion. I also like to get a nice stretch in before I wrestle.
Q: What attracted you to Campbell University? What other schools were in the running? What do you think you might want to major in at college? Is there a particular career path that interests you?
A: I was attracted to Campbell because they are an up-and-coming program, with a great coaching staff. The main reason I chose Campbell is because I want to wrestle for Cary Kolat, Campbell’s head wrestling coach. Also, Campbell’s recruiting coach, Scotti Sentes, showed a lot of interest in me and I really liked what their program is all about. I would like to major in sports management because I am a coach on a youth wrestling program and would like to continue coaching on a higher level.
Q: Tell us a little about AHA.
A: During sporting events, kids with special needs walk out as honorary captains and get to be apart of the team for the day. I got interested in AHA because my brother Timmy is majoring in Special Education, and my cousin Kathleen, who works for the organization, is the main reason my brother and I started the club at Haverford.
Fun facts – Chris Kober
Favorite book: The Quiet American.
Favorite author: Dr. Ehrhart.
Favorite TV show: Sons of Anarchy.
Favorite movie: The Sandlot.
Favorite athlete: Kyle Snider.
Favorite pre-match pump-up song: Seven Nation Army.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite place to visit: “My Grandmom’s mountain house.”
Favorite pre-meet meal: Peanut butter sandwich.
Favorite color: Maroon.
Person I most admire: “I admire my parents the most because they sacrifice everything to mold my brothers and I into great men of character.”
Family members: Christine (mom), Tim (dad); Timothy, Mickey, and Frankie (brothers); Wes (dog).
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)