Coach Spotlight: James Wood wrestling coach Cory Crenshaw

5f809a967c7e2.imageCory Crenshaw has served as James Wood’s head wrestling coach for four years and was a volunteer assistant for the 2015-16 Colonels team. Crenshaw is a two-time Winchester Star Wrestling Coach of the Year, earning the award in both 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.

The 2018-19 Colonels went 5-1 in Class 4 Northwestern District duals to tie Liberty for the best mark in the district. For the second straight year, James Wood finished higher in the district tournament and in the Region 4C tournament than the other three Winchester-Frederick County schools. The Colonels took third in the district tournament for the second straight year and qualified an area-best eight wrestlers for the Class 4 state tournament. The 2017-18 Colonels placed third in the region.

In Crenshaw’s most recent season, James Wood placed fourth in the district and in the region in 2019-2020.

Prior to coaching at James Wood, Crenshaw spent two years assisting the Daniel Morgan Middle School team while attending Lord Fairfax Community College.

Crenshaw is a 2010 Handley graduate, where he wrestled and played baseball.

Crenshaw wrestled at 125 pounds his freshman year, then compiled a record of 86-33 over the next three years at 130 pounds. As a senior, Crenshaw won the Northwestern District title.

In baseball, Crenshaw was a utility player who played on the varsity for three years. As a senior, he was a Second Team Northwestern District selection as an outfielder, driving in 16 runs and scoring 17.

After leaving LFCC, Crenshaw went to Shepherd University and graduated in 2015.

Q. What are your favorite memories as an athlete?

Crenshaw: For baseball, it was when we made regionals as a senior, when we really weren’t supposed to. (Handley started the year 3-10 but went 6-2 in district games to tie Sherando for the regular-season title.) We were a sub-.500 team, but we finished second in the district tournament, which allowed us to make the regionals. (Handley had not advanced to regional play since 2003).

For wrestling, it was winning the district tournament as a senior. Also, as a freshman, I had my twin brother (Cody) with me on the team, but also my older brother (Todd) was a senior. So that was kind of special, being able to have all three of us on one team at the same.

Q. When did you know you wanted to be a coach?

Crenshaw: When me and my twin brother started helping out at Daniel Morgan. It gave us something to do on the side and gave us a chance to pass back what we’d learned over the years, and help the new group of kids coming through the program.

Q. Who are your biggest coaching influences?

Crenshaw: When I was at Handley, I had Todd Miller and Eddie Simmons with baseball and Jim Gowdy with wrestling, and I learned from them all of my years at Handley. Then when I came to James Wood, [former head coach Greg] Walker took me under his wing that first year, kind of taught me everything and showed me the ropes. He showed me that this is the next level, and this is how things need to be done. That kind of put me on the path that I’m on now.

Q. What’s the best coaching advice you’ve received?

Crenshaw: Put in all the effort you can. Nothing’s ever just given to you. You’ve got to earn everything you want to take in life. That approach isn’t necessarily said to you. It’s just kind of implemented throughout all your years of athletics. You start off looking at different avenues of career paths and successes, and you just kind of have to find your own way in things.

Q. What have been your most difficult coaching moments?

Crenshaw: Difficult coaching moments are things where days just don’t go your way. The athletes kind of start to feel down on themselves. They’re not really finding the success they feel they should be having. We’ve gone through that a couple of times as a team. Also, a few individuals. You know they’ve got the talent and success rate to reach their goals, it’s just a matter of getting them back to where they want to be.

Q. What have been your favorite coaching moments?

Crenshaw: Those couple years [in 2017-18 and 2018-19] where we weren’t necessarily good enough to beat Fauquier and Liberty, but we stood out above the area teams. [In 2018-19] we put eight kids into that state tournament, and that just showed the kids that anything’s possible. You’ve just got to go out there and show the effort and do the work.

— Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki

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