Kevin Mood

Stratford heavyweight Kevin Mood will wrestle at Coker.

Kevin Mood’s athletic journey will continue on to the next level.

Mood, a three-sport letterman at Stratford High School, has carved out a path that led to Coker College’s wrestling program in Hartsville.

Mood was also an ironman in the trenches during football season and a designated hitter for the Knights baseball team in the spring. He could have pursued an opportunity in football but stuck to the mat.

“I prayed on it and talked to my parents about it, and I chose wrestling,” Mood said.

Last winter, he was one of the state’s better heavyweight wrestlers, finishing with more than 40 wins. He capped his senior season in the North-South all-star matches.

Since graduating earlier this month, Mood has gotten dialed in on preparation for the rigors of college wrestling. He’s hitting the gym nearly every day and finding his way to the mat room as many times as he can each week.

“When you get to college, it’s nothing but go go go,” Mood said. “It’s fast-paced. You’ve got to be ready for everything.”

As part of the journey, being a heavyweight has some upside in the pursuit of weight management. Mood doesn’t have to steer clear of the dinner table. He can dig in and attack plates of food like he did opposing linemen in the fall. Mood played center and defensive tackle.

“I’m 232 now and they want me to get to 265 or 270,” Mood said. “They want me to build muscle obviously. The heavyweight they have now is on 285, so I can see why they said that.”

He is the third Mood brother to letter in sports at Stratford. Brothers BJ Mood (Class of 2008) and middle brother Justin Mood (Class of 2012) played defensive back for the Knights in football. Justin, who also played baseball, is a secondary coach for Stratford’s football team.

“I always looked up to them,” Mood said. “I went to almost all of their games. I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to play for Stratford Football behind them.”

That passion didn’t go unnoticed.

Knights football coach Dennie McDaniel sang Mood’s praises, essentially calling him one of a kind. Mood had over 50 total tackles and snapped just about every down on the other side of the ball.

“We knew his junior year he had a lot of potential and he really blossomed the summer before his senior year,” McDaniel said.

“He got himself in tremendous shape. What he did was amazing. He averaged 110 snaps a game and that’s almost unheard of. He never wanted to tap out. That says a lot about his character.”

Mood said football also helped him out with his footwork for wrestling.

At Coker, Mood will be reunited with one of his close friends, Will McGuire, a Stratford product who plays baseball for the Cobras.

The Cobras compete in NCAA Div. II as members of the South Atlantic Conference.