NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk Mad Bulls youth wrestling team won the New England championship in a recent competition in Salem, Mass.
The top six wrestlers from each weight class qualified for New Englands. The Mad Bulls crowned three champions, put nine in the top six and qualified 20 young athletes for the tournament.
“Connecticut on a whole, in regards to wrestling in the New England, has been getting better each year in respect to the quality of wrestlers you see at the high school level as well as youth wrestling” Mad Bull Program Director Randy Haus said.
Four years ago, Norwalk qualified just one wrestler for the tournament.
“We’re a technique based driven wrestling club,'' head coach Art Schad said. "We teach technique and constantly drill moves that will work on any level. We’re not a 'one trick pony' club relying on a big move to end a match. We train to be dangerous and score in any position and we executed our moves against some serious competition. We are very pleased with the results."
Schad pointed out the secret to the Mad Bull success. “We have a dedicated group of volunteer coaches that really got the kids prepared for the season-ending tournaments, we push the envelope constantly trying to get the kids out of their comfort zone and the kids just put their heads down, work hard and respond."
Brothers Jason and Nicky Singer, as well as 6th grader Brendan Gilchrist, won team titles for the Mad Bulls.
Eighth-grader Artie Cocchia made it to the finals with some aggressive wrestling all weekend long before losing to the Rhode Island state champion in the finals. Mad Bull team Captain Dean Tsiranides lost a heartbreaking match 8-5 in the semifinals and came back strong in the consolation rounds to place third.
Second-year wrestler Mad Bull wrestler Ronnie Christolin continued to impress as he finished strong in a talented bracket beating much more experienced wrestlers as he won the consolation bracket to place third
Justin Gierum and Zavier Hernandez also placed fourth. Third grader Carlo Tucci placed fifth.
Also competing for the Mad Bulls were Jacob Gonzales, Mike Marini, RJ Gierum, Charlie Prather, Nick Fatone, Will Motley, James Motley, Asaiah Baez, Phoenix Gardella, Ryan Laing, Mikey Schneider, Lorenzo Caratozzolo, JT Schneider, Ryan Schneider, Liam Crawford, Ryan Gilchrist, Anthony Marini and Koy Price.