It's been 16 years since the Unionville High School wrestling team last won the Southern Chester County League championship.
That, however, could change this winter.
Unionville returns 12 of its 14 varsity wrestlers from last year's squad that went 11-4 overall, and because of that, the Indians come into its 2006-07 campaign with very high expectations.
"This is the most talented team I've ever had," said sixth-year Unionville head coach Chris Matz. "We don't have many holes in our lineup, and we have a lot of experience.
"My goal for this team has always been to win the league, but I think it's a little more attainable this year. We should be very good, but we've been careful to tell the kids that we have to go out and prove ourselves and show people that we can do it."
Unionville, which opens the SCCL portion of its schedule later this month against defending league champ Great Valley, welcomes back five wrestlers that surpassed the 20-victory plateau last season: senior Andrew Smith (26-11, 125 pounds), senior Ethan Bunting (25-7, 119 pounds), senior Anthony DiMarco (22-10, 160 pounds), junior Nick Fischer (21-7, 130 pounds) and junior Chris Carney (20-6, 112 pounds).
"We're gunning for the SCCL this year," said DiMarco, a two-time district qualifier. "It's a realistic goal if we all perform up to our potential.
"Unionville isn't really seen as a wrestling school, but the last couple of years we've had some success an we've started to get recognized a little bit. We'd really like to make a name for ourselves this year."
Unionville has won 22 of its last 30 matches dating back to the 2004-05 season.
In order to continue on that recent roll, Matz will count heavily on some of his other key wrestlers: junior Alex Robillard (135), senior Jesse Picard (140), sophomore Grady Stevens (145), senior DJ Letier (152), junior Bobby Walsh (152), junior Colin Ely (171), junior Ben Holloway (189) and freshman Kris Walls (215). In addition, incoming freshman 103 pounder Joe Bonaduce went 42-0 in his middle school career and placed eighth in the state at the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling Championships.
"We feel really comfortable in 12 out of 14 weight classes," said Matz. "We're very solid from 103 to our middleweights."
Unionville has had a strong offseason.
"It's a year round sport for a lot of these kids," said Matz, who routinely holds morning practices before school during the season. "There's a lot of dedication among these guys."
This year marks the last for the SCCL. Unionville will move to the Ches-Mont League next season.
With this being the end of the road for the SCCL, the Indians are hoping its experience helps lead it to its first title since 1990.
"Everyone's been working hard every day with the goal of winning the SCCL," said Fischer, Unionville's 130 pounder who won 21 matches last season. "We're pretty solid all the way through our lineup because we hardly lost anybody from last year, so we expect to be really good this season."
Dec. 9 @W.C. East Tourn. 9 a.m.
Dec. 13 @Bayard Rustin 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 14 @Conestoga 7 p.m.
Dec. 19 @Sun Valley 7 p.m.
Dec. 27 @Pottstown Tourn. 9 a.m.
Jan. 4 Great Valley 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 6 @Avon Grove Devil Duals 9 a.m.
Jan. 10 @Oxford 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 13 @Perkiomen Valley Duals 9 a.m.
Jan. 20 @Kennett Invitational 9 a.m.
Jan. 24 @Kennett 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 Octorara 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 @Garnet Valley 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 @Coatesville 10 a.m.