Hampton wrestler Kocak wins 100th career match
The Hampton wrestling program has moved into the upper echelon during the past couple of years. Winning team and individual championships, the Talbots have gained quite a bit of notoriety.
It can be difficult to stand out on a team so full of skill and talent, but Zach Kocak stepped to the forefront last week, when a 7-2 victory over Chartiers Valley's Jesse Griffin marked career win No. 100.
“It wasn't exactly easy (the match),” Kocak said. “I knew I had to be good, and I prepared the way I always do.”
Kocak knew he had enough winable matches left this season had he slipped up, but he wanted to get the milestone behind him so he could focus on the WPIAL and PIAA championships.
The senior was thrilled to join the 100-win club, because that is a milestone every wrestler strives for but only a small percentage achieves.
Kocak joins Brian Pogel (132 career wins), Jason Bursick (123), Jason Robison (120), Mike Thompson (114), Chris May (111), Brady Krebs (108) and Jamie Hensch (101). Current teammates Jake Hart and Kevin Synan also surpassed 100 wins this season.
“It's pretty amazing,” Kocak said. “We have all been wrestling together since we were 5 and 6 years old, and the expectations for us as we came up were big. Coach (Joe) Bursick just enhanced what we knew and taught us how to be good at this level.
“It is really nice to be part of a team like this.”
Kocak is no stranger to success, as he helped the Hampton soccer team to a couple of championships, won a section championship as a freshman wrestler at 112 pounds, and had lettered in soccer three times, baseball twice in addition to his wrestling letters. By the time he graduates, Kocak should have 10 varsity letters in all.
With the most recent milestone behind him, Kocak said it is time to refocus and push hard for the rest of the season.
Kocak is planning on college but is not sure if he will try to wrestle, play baseball or soccer. Schools like Washington & Jefferson, Thiel and St. Vincent are courting him for varying reasons.
Kocak said he is thinking about studying education or occupational therapy, but the entire process is still up in the air.
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.