After going 8-1 in 2009-2010, the St. Mary’s Saints want nothing but championship gold this year, and despite losing some top wrestlers, the team thinks they have what it takes to reign supreme.

“The 2010-2011 St. Mary’s wrestling team will feature 12 Varsity starters with at least a year of wrestling experience,” Saints’ coach David Hicks explained.  “The team is young and loaded with freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, and will only graduate one senior this season.”

Going 4-1 in the MIAA last year, Kicks is looking to freshmen Bryce Pappas (145) and Peter Leimbach (175), sophomore Gabe Pastirik (125), and juniors Robert Middleton (135), Mike Richardson (140), Drew Stone (160) and Connor Crowley (215) to push the Saints deep into the post-season.

Pappas should make quite a splash in the MIAA, coming into the season as a Junior League state champion and being awarded Outstanding Wrestler at the Junior League State Tournament.

“Most of the team is on board with focusing on the little things that make wrestlers successful.   The team leaders are setting perfect examples of how to do the right things academically, athletically, and socially,” Hicks said.  “With the support and confidence from the Administration and Royal Blue Club, who purchased brand new mats for the program, the wrestlers have extra motivation and encouragement to succeed. This year’s squad is very tough in tough situations.”

Despite the losses of Sam Vaughters, Peter Wilcox and Tim Kerner, Hicks wants to take the MIAA B Conference title this year, as well as qualify 50 percent of his starting lineup to the National Prep Championships at Lehigh University.