While the Staples wrestling team didn't enjoy the success it would have hoped for as a team last season in terms of wins and losses, head coach David Bernstein hopes to see improvements from his squad this winter.
Bernstein, now in his second year at the helm, is far more comfortable with the program and a deeper relationship with the athletes on his roster.
"It different in a sense because I've been able to establish a relationship with the returning guys and the kids trust the program that's established," Bernstein said.
Bernstein, who is actively involved in youth wrestling programs, believes Staples can be a formidable wrestling program down the road. Developing a feeder system remains at the top of Bernstein's to-do list.
"Absolutely," Bernstein said when asked about Staples' potential. "There is a rich pool of athletic talent here. You see Staples football, the way they brought that program from the ground floor to one of the best of the state. That shows that the ability is here, it's a matter of getting get some recognition and interest."
The Wreckers lost tri-captains Jeremy Sherman, Alex Brown and Alexander Kogstad. Because of Superstorm Sandy, there was no FCIAC Championship last season. Kogstad was the No. 1 seed at 220. Kogstad reached the quarterfinals as Class LL's. Sherman reached the quarterfinals in 126 at Class LL and finished fifth.
This year, the Wreckers will be led by captains Jake Santo (138-145), and juniors Justin Ludel (132-138), Charles Lomanto (160) and Daniel Kogstad (195). Santo, a senior, missed time last season due to concussion and is primed for a big season according to Bernstein. Daniel Kogstad had the second best record among Staples Wrestlers a year ago.
While the Wreckers will be unlikely to fill all weight classes for each meet, they are hopeful to be more competitive in matches.
"We'd like to win our matches," Bernstein said. We only had a handful of legitimate (non-forfit) wins last year. A big goal is fulfilling weight classes; It's tough to win matches when you are forfeiting weights."
Staples opens its season Dec. 18 at home against Harding.