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What's Up Magazine

Athlete Worth Watching: Cody Winokur

May 01, 2018 12:00AM
By Tom Worgo

When Archbishop Spalding football player Cody Winokur suffered a severe injury—he fractured his fibula and tore two ligaments in his ankle right before the 2017 season started—everyone who
knew him thought his career might have been in jeopardy.

Everybody but Winokur. He shrugged off the injury as no big thing.

“It was incredibly impressive how he handled that,” Spalding Football Coach Kyle Schmitt says. “He handled it way better than me, his dad or a lot of his teammates. Cody was awesome.”

He sustained the injury in a scrimmage against Pallotti in late August when a Panther defender dove at a Cavalier running back’s legs and knocked Winokur down instead.

His attitude made the long road back to recovery a lot shorter and smoother as he prepares to play football next fall for Army West Point.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Winokur, who carries a 3.9 grade point average and wants to major in systems engineering, has played the sport since he was eight years old and couldn’t wait to get back to it.

“It was a little bump in the road,” says Winokur, who also played lacrosse and wrestled for the Cavaliers. “As soon as I came out of surgery, I asked when could I start rehab and start getting this train cranking again because I am looking forward to getting back on the field.”

Winokur, a Severna Park resident, proved how serious he was by all the time and dedication he put into his rehab and physical therapy. He spent about two hours a day for five months working at Spalding with the school’s athletic trainer, Casey Berry.  

“I’ve had 11 athletes who all had surgeries and do rehab and I think his attention to detail is what sets him apart,” Berry says. “It gets mentally grueling and it gets old, but his consistency has always been there. Consistency is something a lot of these kids lack. He does what he needs to do to get better.

“He enjoys the process and reaching the goals,” she adds. “He always wants to get in the weight room and be an example to those around him.”  

The workouts were grueling and sometimes painful, but he never lost his commitment. “I did a whole bunch of kinetic body stuff to strengthen my core and my hamstrings to make sure I was strong enough,” Winokur says. “I did free body exercises to get my range of motion back. I never stopped lifting upper body.”

Schmitt was impressed, but not at all surprised, by Winokur’s grit, determination, work ethic, and character. “Cody is a guy that carries himself with a presence,” the coach says. “You can point to him and say, ‘You want to know how to work in the weight room? You want to know how to
work in the classroom? You want to know how to treat your peers and your teachers? Then this is a guy you want to emulate.’ When you give freshmen the example of Cody Winokur, it lasts them for four years.”

Schmitt also raves about Winokur’s football skills. He’s an outstanding run and pass blocker with a mean streak who earned Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association all-conference and all-state honors in 2016. Winokur is one of the few freshmen to earn a starting spot in Schmitt’s time on the job.

“His toughness as a player stands out above everything else,” Schmitt says. “He played with an edge. His aggressiveness was one of the keys to his success.”

Toughness defines Winokur. He suits up not just to win but to dominate. “I want to beat you physically and mentally,” Winokur explains. “There’s no better feeling than looking across from someone and knowing you are tougher and mentally stronger and knowing you broke their will.”

Winokur was a pretty good lacrosse player, as well. He played three years on the varsity as a defender and started for two.

“He was very coachable and had that winner’s mentality to do whatever it took to be successful,” Spalding Boys’ Lacrosse Coach Brian Phipps says. “Football was his main love, but his quickness and stick skills, he could have definitely could have played lacrosse at the Division I level.”