NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk's Jeff Cocchia finished third last weekend at the Eastern Youth Wrestling Nationals in Maryland.
Cocchia, a sixth-grader at Roton Middle School who wrestles for the Norwalk Mad Bulls, finished 4-1 in the tournament. He won his first two matches before losing to the West Virginia champion in the semifinals. He won two more matches in the consolation rounds.
“We keep talking about getting to the next level in our program; Jeff has certainly achieved this by being our first National Place winner and All-American, we’re a very proud coaching staff and team with his effort and results,'' coach Art Schad said.
Cocchia opened the tournament with first period pins over the Maryland and Pennsylvania champions before losing a heartbreaking 6-1 match to the West Virginia wrestler.
In consolation wrestle backs he bested another Pennsylvania standout and eventually beat the three-time state champion from Delaware.
“We’re getting there as an experienced and technical team, our own wrestling room has a dozen or so returning state finalists, most of our kids are ready to break out of the pack and follow Jeff Cocchia to the national stage, it’s just a matter of time,” coach Jason Singer said. “Right now we are going to enjoy this achievement as a team, everyone had a hand in this major accomplishment, from top to bottom”