The Aquinas Wrestling team has been a solid program for many years now. Last season, the Monarchs sent 11 wrestlers to the state tournament in Omaha.
They return multiple from that group for the upcoming season including sophomore Zach Zitekm, sophomore Noah Scott, senior Creighton Redler, senior Logan Helgoth, senior Joseph Reimers and junior Owen Schramm.
Zitekm placed fifth at state at 106 pounds and Reimers went undefeated during the season winning his second state championship.
"We have a pretty tough team," said co-head coach Roy Emory after practice last week. "We're working really hard and have had a good two weeks of practice. We'll see how it comes together, but it looks pretty promising."
During the history of Aquinas wrestling, the Monarchs have won the state championship as a team four times (1994, 2001, 2002 and 2004) and have one wrestler who wrestled in four state finals in Doug Daro who won a championship in 2007.
Daro holds the record for the most takedowns in Class D for a season with 245 and a career with 684.
Aquinas has 10 top-three finishes as a team at state championships, and 34 individual state champions - Tim Stara, Brian Dart, Gregg Shonka, Vincent Smith, Scott Pflum, Curt Helgoth, John Morbach, Jim Buresh, Andy Osborn, Eric Pflum, Kenny Kadavy, Heath Fiala, Jim Buell, Scott Fiala, Robert Daro, Aaron Karpisek, Jared Meister, Josh Coufal, Jared Meister, Andrew Daro, Douglas Daro,Austin Svoboda, Alexander Reimers, Matthew Kindler, Kyle Petree, and Joseph Reimers.
The Monarchs open the season Thursday night when they travel to a dual at Boone Central/Newman Grove.
A major factor in the historic success of the program is a commitment to excellence starting at a young age. Once the youngsters become teenagers, fundamentals and expectations are well ingrained.
"We don't have to spend a lot of time on basics, because we have a nice system from out little kids through our middle school," Emory said. "It's all guys that are on the same page, former alumni. It helps us out that there's that continuity so we can get into a lot of stuff. Also the kids do a great job of wrestling a lot, and they'll show each other stuff. There's a lot of experience on the team."
With so much success coming back, the goals are being set high for the Monarchs, and these goals are being set by the wrestlers themselves.
"The kids have high goals," Emory said. "We make them put their goal on the wall so they can see them every day and they set them high. We adjust accordingly with how the season is going. We don't set team goals necessarily, some of the kids have some team goals. We would like to be a top-10 team and maybe be in the mix at the end and see how it falls."
Aquinas has a simple formula when it comes to what they want to do on the mat - score more points by staying on the attack
"We look to score points," Emroy said. "We want to be aggressive and get after people. We want to be physical. We want to make them think 'Wow' when they wrestle an Aquinas guy."
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net