PARAMUS, N.J. — Life felt like a dream for Dina Cochran. Denise Suriano was glad that everything played out as expected.
The mothers stood at the foot of Jockish Square in Paramus Tuesday afternoon, bursting with pride as their sons — both NJSIAA state wrestling champions — unveiled signs recognizing their hard work and accomplishments.
Bergen Catholic’s Nick Suriano finished his undefeated career (159-0) with four state titles, while Paramus High School junior Kyle Cochran became the first Spartan title winner since Neil Hanley in 1982 with a buzzer-beating finish.
“It’s an incredible honor to have as a parent,” Suriano told Daily Voice moments before Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera presented the boys with their shiny, blue and red plaques. “It’s the highest level of pride you can have. It’s indescribable.”
The signs will remain outside Borough Hall for the next month. They then go to the athletes’ respective schools for the following 11 months -- “that is, if the girls don’t steal them,” LaBarbiera said jokingly during the ceremony.
Suriano and Cochran were to return to Borough Hall on Tuesday evening to be honored again by LaBarbiera and the council.
Cochran — who said he was out to prove his doubters wrong — recalled his childhood admiration for state wrestling champions.
“I thought of them almost like a god,” he said from beneath his new, blue sign. “Now being one, it’s different. It doesn’t feel like I am [a state champion].
“But I’m so happy that I am because I want to influence kids in Paramus to accomplish what I did.”
Suriano’s win was almost expected, his mother said. But that only added to the pressure he was under.
“People only see the glory,” the unbeaten athlete said. “They don’t see the real hardships and the sacrifices being made.
“There are a ton of expectations that myself and others have on me. But I believe in myself and in my training. That doesn’t change.”
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