WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | Sports

Student Athlete of the Week -- Richard Coppola, Covenant


Every season for the last six years, Covenant senior Richard Coppola has played a sport at for the Eagles. Since seventh grade, he’s been a member of the school's football, swimming and baseball teams. Now, in his 18th consecutive season, Coppola is more valuable to his team than ever.

For Coppola, the more sports he played, the better he did in school. After 18 straight seasons, he is now a member of Covenant’s high honor roll.

"I never planned to do three sports every year since 7th grade, but I operate better when I'm busy," he said.

"I'm just impressed with that, that each season that comes around he just gets out those clothes and gets ready to go, and he just devotes himself to it," said Covenant baseball coach Doug Smethurst. "I've just been very impressed with his dedication."

Now in his final season, Coppola is captain of his baseball team and he’s also the Eagle’s ace and best hitter.

"As Richard goes, so goes our team," says Smethurst. "If he's hitting the ball well it really is a huge plus for our team, we tend to get momentum from that. If he's throwing the ball well on the mound, we just kind of fall right in line and it ends up being a pretty good day for us."

Coppola plays football and is an all-VIC swimmer, but he says the baseball diamond is his favorite place to be.

"Every other sport is almost purely physical, and baseball, you could be the greatest athlete in the world and still not be very good at baseball because you have to think through so many things, you have to be quick on your feet, not just physically but you have to know what to do at all times. It's a challenge."

When he’s not focused on sports or school, Coppola is involved with his church, where he has led retreats for the last two years.

"I like being able to help kids kind of figure things out for their own, and just being able to, if they have any questions about the retreat or about anything bigger than that, I like to be able to help them out with that and kind of being a mentor to them."

He says those experiences planning and leading retreats have helped him become a better leader on his baseball team.

"It's kind of similar to the retreat in that younger kids, because we're a very young team, younger kids come up to you and ask you about situations, or they're just upset with something, they're not playing well and they're not happy about that, that you can be there for them."


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