Season 2 Column 7

A mission for Mr. Clark and Co.

There is a school you do not know, but should. It’s one of the newest 4 year institutions based in one of the oldest faiths and reaping new found rewards in one of the oldest sports. It boasts big time mentors from big time conferences with big time resumes. Read: 3 men, 12 NCAA appearances, with multiple AA status. A full 40 man roster from 10 states and a familiar foreign country (IS RUSSIA, Vy udivleny?) Know who they are yet? No, you do not. S’ok. Its motto: Inspiring Minds, Unleashing Hearts. Its head coach, sharing the same name and mantra as the deadliest Tom Clancy character ever, is 2 years into a complete reconstruction job. Maybe their hashtag should be #doubletaps/doubleunderhooks. OK, maybe a bit much for a good Catholic school with good wrestlers getting better and good coaches with great personal stories and skills to match. Fairfield, Connecticut is where you’ll find Sacred Heart University and, if this season ended today for them, it would be their most successful one in years. Hint: it won’t, and the Pioneers wont stop until they’ve established themselves as THE wrestling power of New England. Hear that, B-U and BC? Shots fired at your heritage. Wait, that’s right, you’re already dead. Sacred Heart is beating strong and getting stronger every day. Witness their  wins at the Princeton Open, where Ryan Burns, Gerard Daly, and Patrick O’Donell all secured victories for the Pioneers. Daly repeated his success 2 weeks later at the Keystone Classic, where his teammates Mark Blokh, Anthony Falbo, Brandon Levesque, and Will Schmidt shared victories. Sandwiched in between these two showings was a stellar effort at  the Journeymen Classic where the Pioneers won two of three duals on the day. Sacred Heart beat  Bloomsburg from the EWL and a Socon foe, The Citadel. So, where from here for the Pioneers? With coaches John Clark (Ohio St), Braden Atwood (Purdue) and newly named assistant coach Jon Fausey (Virginia) and a geographic region all to themselves, Sacred Heart is taking strong, positive steps on the road to wrestling relevance.