Senior Spotlight: Few McGuffey athletes can match Cole’s all-around credentials

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 | 8:25 PM

Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

C.J. Cole may not be the best athlete to come through McGuffey in the last 40 years, but he has to be among the best.

That list includes wrestler Jeremy Hunter and wrestlers/football players Jason Barr, Christian Clutter and Gary Clark.

Cole was a three-sport star for the Highlanders: an all-star wide receiver in football who caught 27 passes for 618 yards and 12 touchdowns, a 1,000-point scorer in basketball and a WPIAL champion and PIAA fourth-place finisher in the triple jump in track.

McGuffey football coach and athletic director Ed Dalton said Cole is 25% better as an athlete than he was a year ago.

“He’s just a hard worker,” Dalton said. “He never stops.”

McGuffey track coach Justin Crothers said “no” is not in Cole’s vocabulary.

“No one call tell him no,” Crothers said. “He works hard in and out of the classroom. He’s got great work ethic and determination.

“He’s striving to get better every day. Things seemed to click halfway through his junior track season, and then he took off.”

Before the coronavirus ended his high school athletic career and forced schools across the country to educate students online, the 6-foot-5 senior was eyeing big things in track.

If the track season wasn’t cancelled, what was your goal in track?

I set my goals high. I wanted to win the WPIAL triple jump again and I was hoping to reach 47 feet in the triple jump. That distance would win the state title.

What have you been doing since track season was canceled?

I turned my focus on finishing my education and preparing to walk on to play football at West Virginia.

Why did you pick West Virginia over Pitt and Penn State?

The Mountaineers were the first to offer. I feel McGuffey is similar to West Virginia, a country school. I’m confident things will work out.

What are your days like now?

When we were stopped in March, we were holding out that we’d be back in a couple weeks. My routine with the current quarantine is lift weights in the morning, work on schoolwork and run in the evening.

What makes you thing WVU was the right place?

I’m a very competitive person. I’m excited about my opportunity at WVU. I’ve learned that you can only control the controllable.

What are you playing to major in at WVU?

I’m going to major in sports management. I would like to coach once I’m done at WVU. Maybe Coach Dalton will keep the seat warm for me until I’m done with school.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .


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