WESTPORT -- Staples High first-year wrestling coach David Bernstein walked into a somewhat difficult situation.

The former Class LL state champion at Fairfield Prep and Division I wrestler at Bucknell University inherited a team lacking a full complement of wrestlers, and didn't have much time to tinker with the roster. Consequently, the Wreckers enter meets at a major disadvantage.

"We don't have a lot of upper weights right now," Bernstein said following a 49-22 loss to Ridgefield on Wednesday evening. "We have a lot of guys stacked in the lighter weights, but we're shorthanded in the upper weights."

Staples doesn't have a wrestler in the 195-pound or heavyweight divisions, and Ruben Guardado was bumped up a class Wednesday to wrestle at 182 pounds.

"We don't have a lot of upper-weight strength, so it depends on our lighter weight guys to pin throughout for us to even have a chance," Bernstein said.

Staples forfeited Wednesday at 106, 113 and 195 pounds, while there was a double forfeit in the heavyweight division. Sophomore Daniel Kogstad earned a forfeit win for the Wreckers at 220 pounds.

Senior Alex Kogstad turned in the most impressive performance of the evening for Staples with a 13-3 major decision win over Tyler Hamilton at 152 pounds.

Staples' other wins came from junior Jake Santo (145), who pinned Fermin Ruybal with 1:27 left in the second period, and senior Jeremy Sherman (126), who pinned Colin Storm with 42 seconds remaining in the first period.

Santo's pin gave the Wreckers an early 6-4 lead, but the Tigers received consecutive pins from Victor Fernandez (160), Matt Sesto (170) and Nate Pfohl (182) to take control.

Ridgefield's Kevin Side had a pin at 120 pounds, while other wins for the Tigers came from John Pavain (138) and Jack Boscia (132).

Bernstein knows that the Wreckers, who currently have only one win in dual meets, may struggle to have success as a team this season. His goal is simply to be competitive.

"Hopefully, next year we get a couple football guys out here and get some big boys on the mat," Bernstein said.

Individually, however, there is promise as Bernstein thinks his three senior captains -- Sherman, Alex Brown (138) and Alex Kogstad -- can do well in the FCIAC meet and state tournament. Last year, Sherman reached the quarterfinals in 120-pound division in Class LL.

"Those guys look good, and then Daniel Kogstad at 220, our one big guy, can make some noise in FCIACs and states," Bernstein added.

Nicholas Ader filled in on Wednesday for Brown, who is sidelined this week with an injury. Ader dropped a 15-4 decision to Pavain in the first match of the meet.

The meet was completed in just 40 minutes due to the forfeits.

The Wreckers will wrestle again on Saturday against E.O. Smith in Storrs at 9 a.m.

Bob Birge is a freelance writer