“(I celebrated for), like, an hour,” Mock said. “Then I was getting ready for the next one.”
That hour was a good one for Mock, though, as his celebration included firing up the Carmichael crowd and busting out the John Wall dance.
Big-time wrestling is nothing new to Mock. The sport had been a part of his life for more than 10 years before he even began his quest for four straight state championships in high school.
But Mock admits that he had to adjust how he prepares for matches when he made the jump to college.
“I beat kids in the state championships, like, 9-1,” Mock said. “Here everyone is good, everyone is a contender.
“You have to be ready for every match.”
The adjustment he made was developing a competitive edge. Mock said that edge came as he learned to practice harder and approach each training session as he would a match.
Senior Thomas Scotton said the freshman has become a leader through the way he works in practice.
“He leads by example,” Scotton said. “His confidence is contagious. He’ll go out and wrestle really tough, and the next guys feed off that, and eventually we all feed off of him.
“I’m trying to get more like him.”
Mock attributes his hard-working mentality to growing up in the presence of his father, C.D. Mock, who was a national champion for the Tar Heels in 1982 and a wrestling coach all of Corey Mock’s life.
The father-son duo continues to work together at North Carolina as C.D. Mock has coached the Tar Heels for the past seven seasons.
“I have watched so many people fail before me, watching all my dad’s wrestlers and seeing him get so frustrated,” Corey Mock said. “I just wanted to come here to show that … we like to work hard.”
Corey Mock admitted part of the reason he likes to win is that it makes his father happy.
But getting better when his coach doubles as his father, blurring the line of that relationship, is not always easy.
C.D. Mock said the most difficult part of the situation is when he wants to teach Corey something new.
“I can’t,” he said. “Dads can’t show sons.”
The key to navigating the relationship is keeping wrestling at school and family at home.
“Home is sanctuary,” C.D. Mock said. “We do not talk about wrestling at the dinner table.”
Mock’s parents have still had an impact on the way he readies himself for matches. His mother, Mickie, was a gymnast for the Tar Heels.
This mental preparation has become a part of Mock’s routine. Before even stepping onto a wrestling mat, Mock envisions how he is going to defeat his opponent.
“Before each match, I go over the match in my head,” he said. “If I do anything wrong, then I start over and go over it again until I do everything perfect.
“And then I never tell myself that I’m not good, that I’m not able to win this match. If I do, then I take a deep breath and start all over again.”
C.D. Mock doesn’t credit himself with being an influence on his son’s preparation, instead choosing a hands-off approach before each match. Still, he acknowledges that the way Corey prepares mentally is beneficial.
“Corey has a pretty good maturity about it,” C.D. Mock said. “He’s an intellectual wrestler. The good thing about Corey is that he doesn’t usually make the same mistake twice. He does learn.”
Mock’s hard work has paid off. He has flirted with top-20 rankings and already has one ACC Wrestler of the Week honor under his belt.
Such success hasn’t affected him, though.
“It’s just another thing,” Mock said.
With such devotion, Mock’s accolades won’t stop there.
Scotton said the freshman has the perfect blend of talent and maturity to carry him far.
“I remember coming here as a freshman and just thinking I want to start. Corey wants to win nationals,” Scotton said. “That comes from his dad.
“He’s matured perfectly. He’s definitely not your average freshman, I will say that.”
Corey Mock has clear goals. He wants to win a national championship and be an All-American as soon as this year.
And the winning formula is the same as it was for his father 29 years ago.
“Work hard,” Mock said. “Just keep working.”
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