"Our goal was to start building the program,'' said the Winfield coach. "It's taken a long time to get to where we are. That's been our goal to get to the point where we can compete with the best teams in the state.
"We've been competitive with middle-tier teams, but we want to be competitive with upper-tier teams. You've got to really work hard. You can't just walk on the mat and work on in season to be at that level. When enough guys buy into that everybody feeds off that. We've got good team leaders and the guys push each other.''
Cochran said he envisions the Generals taking the next step as a perennial contender at the state tournament once a youth program is established.
"That's the one thing we don't have,'' he said. "We're working toward getting that, then we'll have all three phases. [We'll] get the little guys interested and keep them going at the middle school then get them up here [at the high school].
"It used to be when I first started coaching you had to teach them basic moves, and now I don't have to teach basic moves. I can go on to the more advanced stuff, and that helps us when we wrestle the good teams.''
Cochran said he feels good about where the high school program is headed.
"This is all practice,'' he said. "Our goal is to qualify eight for the state tournament and try and get some state placers this year.''
Other individual winners from the Kanawha Valley included GW's Sam Moore (106), Jenson Lorea (126), who was also voted the most outstanding wrestler by the coaches, Jake Smith (160) and Hunter Jones (170); Hoover's Justin Duncan (120), Zane Weese (220) and Richard Wood (285); Hurricane's Jeremy Francis (152); Capital's Patrick Vance (182); and Buffalo's Kyle Frazier (195). Smith, Jones and Woods won by pin. Buffalo was also given the sportsmanship award.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.