The Bishop Hendricken wrestling team hasn’t forgotten the way last season ended, but that’s by design.
At the state meet a year ago, the Hawks came up just short of the title, losing by one point to Cumberland. With the pieces in place to contend once again, Hendricken’s focus is singular – they want to win it this time.
“I definitely think they think about that, every day,” Hendricken head coach Kevin Hennessey said. “Especially considering every day at practice I remind them of it.”
The Hawks are certainly among the favorites in the state to claim the championship, something they haven’t done since the 2003-04 season.
They return six wrestlers who placed at states, and they have others who should step in and carry the load. It’s a deep group, making the team’s lofty goals plenty understandable.
“Our goals don’t change,” Hennessey said. “Our goal is to be undefeated in dual meets and win the thing. If we don’t set high goals, then what’s the point?”
The team’s top returner – based on state meet-finish last season – is junior Jason Davol, who took second at 106.
Behind him is senior Nick DiMauro, who claimed third place in the 120-pound class.
Senior Nick Parente is back after a fifth-place showing at 138, while senior Rob Lanni took fifth at 113, junior Dallas Sauer was fifth in the heavyweight class and sophomore Anthony DiMauro was fifth at 132.
In fact, the only wrestler that the Hawks graduated who placed at states last season is Billy Stewart. Everybody else is back.
“We probably have like five or six guys back at this point,” Hennessey said. “It’s nice.”
Hendricken also has other experienced wrestlers in the fold who didn’t place at states, but were big parts of the team and could take a step forward this year.
Seniors Nick Parente and Chris Barone are back, as are sophomores Lewis Stewart and Nick Celico.
Adding to that depth are some other talented wrestlers. Since Hendricken won both the freshman and the junior varsity state meets last year, there’s no shortage of skill.
Junior Pierre-Louis Arcand will also likely be in the lineup, and freshmen Jimmy Sauro and Chris Storti have a chance to break in as well.
“I think we’re tough top to bottom,” Hennessey said.
The Hawks flashed their depth this past weekend, when they competed in the King Philip Wrestling Tournament in Massachusetts on Saturday.
Hendricken finished third overall, but made quite a splash individually. It brought 18 wrestlers to the tournament, and eight of them reached the finals.
A total of 10 medaled.
And, that performance came with the Hawks still not quite settled into a full lineup yet.
At this point in the season, Hennessey is still working out certain spots. But those spots should have strong wrestlers in them, regardless of how it shakes out.
“We don’t even have our starting lineup set,” Hennessey said. “It’s tough to say. We have a lot of guys all fighting for spots.”
The Hawks still have a littlie while until their league season begins, as they don’t have a Division I meet until they host Johnston on Wednesday, Dec. 19.
When it does start, though, Hendricken is hoping it’s the beginning of a season to remember – one that will yield the program’s eighth state championship.
“If everybody stays healthy, I feel that that’s doable,” Hennessey said.