The Golden Bears appear well positioned to meet those expectations as they enter the 2012-13 season with a veteran squad that includes eight seniors.
Stacey Davis takes over the reins as head coach after serving the last four years as an assistant under previous leader Jeff Walrich, who is now the athletic director at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio.
While Davis is new as the coach, he states that his involvement with the program the previous few seasons ensures that no transition period is needed.
“I’ve been active with the program the last few years, so there is really no transition,” Davis said. “We’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Holy Innocents’ showed it hasn’t lost a step from last year’s state duals title team. The Golden Bears opened their season in impressive fashion with a 51-18 victory on the road over Westminster last Wednesday.
Seniors Jason Grimes (195 pounds), Brendan Quigley (138), John Hiles (113) and Grant Gosden (220) and junior Ross Waters each won by pin, while seniors Grant Chastain (160) and Stephen Williams, juniors Rod Davis (182) and Owen Penn (152), sophomore Jake Walton (132) and freshman Logan Chastain (126) won by decision for the Golden Bears.
The match with Westminster is part of a challenging early season schedule for Holy Innocents’, which will also compete in such prestigious meets as the Kyle Maynard Duals at Collins Hill High in Suwanee Dec. 22 and the A.J. Memorial in Kissimmee, Fla., Dec. 28.
Davis said the tough slate the Golden Bears face will prepare them for their ultimate goal of winning both the state tournaments.
“That was the point,” he said. “It’s about getting ready for the state duals and traditional meet and every meet prepares us for that.”
Also helping Holy Innocents’ in its quest for state titles is the return of Grimes, a senior who was last year’s Class A champion in the 170-pound weight class.
“Jason had a phenomenal season last year and he worked hard to get ready for this season,” Davis said of Grimes, who also earned All-America honors in ’11-12.
Quigley, also a senior, comes back as well after placing runner-up in Class A at 126 pounds.
The Golden Bears are also boosted by the return of state placers Hiles (fourth place at 106), Grant Chastain (fifth, 152) and Rod Davis (sixth, 160) as well as Gosden (220).
Also playing key roles are freshmen Sim Patrick (106) and Logan Chastain.
With its deep and talented roster, Davis is excited about Holy Innocents’ chances of competing again for state titles.
“I am very confident that our team can make another run at the state championship,” he said.