Members of the St. Mary's wrestling team help to install… (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore…)
It was just a few years ago that St. Mary's had about six wrestlers.
Then came coach Dave Hicks, who began rebuilding the program. Then, last season, the team got an emotional boost from school and athletic support groups that combined their resourses to buy the team its first new wrestling mat in decades, and the Saints were on their way.
Saturday, at the Maryland Independent Schools state wrestling tournament, St. Mary's won the MIAA B Conference title, it's first since 2006.
"That new mat helped improve our workouts," said Hicks, whose father Wayne coached at the school before him. "We had a pretty good idea all year long that we could win. We felt we had enough to win the title. It's been a team goal. Now, I want us to move up to the A Conference. I hope wecan move up next season after winning this title and the MIAA dual title championship.
St. Mary's went 7-4 overall and 5-0 in the B Conference.
"This is pretty exciting," said St. Mary's junior 195-pound wrestler Matt Kerner, who finished seventh. "It was a great experience for the team to win. We really put a lot of effort into it all season and now we can see it paid off."