The Delaware Hayes High School wrestling team has never won a team championship in league, sectional, district or state competition.
According to eighth-year coach Josh Heffernan, the Pacers are looking to take that next step this season.
"It's time," he said. "Our goals are to win the OCC-Capital, a sectional and a district title. We've got a lot of great people working hard to make it happen."
Delaware has returned two Division I state qualifiers in sophomore Greg Brusco, who went 4-2 and placed fourth at 113 pounds to finish with a 41-8 record, and senior Shawn Johnson, who went 0-2 at 195 to finish 36-10. The Pacers scored 13 points at state to tie for 36th behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (117) as 89 teams scored.
Delaware had a program-record eight district qualifiers last season, and all of them have returned.
Brusco and Johnson were district runners-up last season. The other returning district qualifiers are seniors Nick Beyer (152, 29-22), Colton Richard (220, 21-7), Andrew Sierawski (182, 41-8) and Raymond Simpson (160, 35-13) and sophomores Raezel Garrett (145, 25-17) and Chris Martinez (170, 33-15).
Brusco, Johnson, Richard and Sierawski were sectional champions last season.
This season, Brusco is expected to compete at 126 when he returns to the lineup from an injury. Also moving up in weight classes are Beyer (160), Garrett (152) and Sierawski (220). Johnson (182) and Richard (195) have dropped in weight classes and Martinez and Simpson are in the same weight classes as last season.
Also back are two district alternates from a year ago in juniors Zack Brockett, who was 16-18 at 138 last season and has moved to 152, and Danny Shaver, who will start at 126 until Brusco returns after going 22-19 at 120 last season.
"We'll compete with more than 10 different lineups this season because we have such fierce competition at some weights," said Heffernan, whose team finished second in the OCC-Capital Division, second in the Westland sectional and 10th at district last season. "The upper half of our lineup is dominated by experienced and accomplished upperclassmen. From 160 to 220 is tough with Simpson, Martinez, Johnson, Richard and Sierawski.
"This is the largest number of wrestlers active on a Hayes roster in team history. We've got 45 to 50 guys. Not only do we have strength in numbers, but I've been very impressed with the skill of our backups. I think our strength coordinator, Josh Lamb, has done wonders with these guys in the offseason. Our guys simply love to lift. The intensity and competitive spirit in the weight room is fun to be around and it carries over onto the mats."
Others expected to be key contributors this season include seniors Derek Louck (heavyweight) and Derrick Sumner (182), sophomores Brandon Dydek (138) and Tommy Det-unno (106) and freshmen Ian Mayberry (138), Max Wright (113) and Garrett Young (132).
The Pacers opened Nov. 30 by winning the Bad Apple Brawl at Mount Vernon despite missing six expected starters.
Sierawski and Shaver won titles in the 12-team event and Louck and Richard were runners-up. Beyer, Martinez and Simpson placed third and Sumner placed fourth, as Delaware scored 531 points to hold off runner-up Lancaster (516).
Boys basketball team wins first two games
The boys basketball team opened the season by winning the Kory Kirkpatrick Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 29 and 30 at Marion Harding.
The Pacers defeated Toledo Scott 67-57 in the opener and Cardington 69-47 in the championship game.
Delaware, which opened OCC-Capital play Dec. 6 against Worthington Kilbourne, displayed its depth in the tournament, as five players scored in double digits.
Against Toledo Scott, Khalil Iverson had 23 points, Noble Moore scored 18 and Alex Stevens scored 11. Moore scored five of the Pacers' seven 3-pointers.
In the championship game, Iverson had 19 points, Philip Frentsos scored 15 and Tyler Treese scored 12. The Pacers made eight 3-pointers, including three by Frentsos.