Out of the five teams in the Monsignor Martin Association, No. 4 St. Francis and No. 6 St. Joe’s are both ranked highly among large schools.
The Marauders are looking to extend their All-Catholic title streak to four years. They return three All-Catholic champions in sophomore Ben Parish and seniors Samuel Baker and Ty Slaugenhoupt. Parish placed third at states in 2017, while Slaugenhoupt was fourth and Baker sixth. Reigning 160-pound champ Garrett House is out due to an injury from the fall season.
“The goals for the program remain the same,” 13-year St. Joe’s coach Pete Kennedy said. “Win the Monsignor Martin regular season title, the All-Catholic title and capture the Catholic state championship.”
St. Joe’s travels to Athol Springs for its annual clash with St. Francis on Friday. This rivalry has decided the league each of the last 11 years.
The Red Raiders are the defending Division II Catholic state champs and have the lone returning individual state champion from that meet in junior Dominik Thomas. He was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of D-II at 145 pounds but is up a few weight classes and ranked No. 3 in Western New York at 170 this year.
St. Francis returns three other All-Catholic champs in juniors Logan Lauck, Dan Browning and Nolan Thomas. Senior Marcus Muffoletto is honorable mention at 160.
Canisius had two state champs for the first time in school history last season but both graduated. Junior Matt Baldwin won the 138-pound league title, while classmate Tom Blackwell placed fifth in the state at 170.