After enduring a tough 2009-10 season, the Fairfield Ludlowe wrestling team is hoping to take the experience the Falcons gained from that 4-22 campaign and turn it into success this season. With over 20 wrestlers returning from last year's team, including five starters, the Falcons appear poised to do just that.

Head coach Nicholas Garoffolo, the Falcons first and only wrestling coach, returns for his seventh season. He said the coaching staff is "very excited," about the season for multiple reasons. Garoffolo is also the coach of the Fairfield Police Athletic League wrestling program and he has been successful in taking players from there and allowing them to develop before starting at Ludlowe.

"Last year we had our best freshman recruiting class ever," said Garoffolo. "About half of these wrestlers were first year wrestlers while the others had different levels of experience with the PAL wrestling program. So this year's sophomores will give us a good base of talent to build for this year and years to come."

Garoffolo said his team had a record number of players attend summer camp, about 20, including returning wrestlers and incoming freshmen.

The team will be led by returning junior starters Henry Wales, Drue Hallee, Will Matson and Clint Kaczegowicz, as well as sophomore Kyle DeCruccio.

Wales is the returning captain. He placed in the FCIAC tournament last season with a sixth place finish.

"Henry has worked very hard in the off season so he can be ready to lead our team toward a winning season," Garoffolo said.

Seven players picked up valuable experience on the junior varsity level by placing at the state tournament, including DeCruccio, Eshan Dave, Joe Piccolo, Mauricio Xocoy, Nick Chandler, Kaczegowicz and Ricky Coombs.

Incoming freshmen from the PAL program that Garoffolo will be looking toward to contribute include Nick Catlin, Ben Batulanon, Eric Kirchgasser and Jacob Jessen.

"We are still going to be a relatively young team age wise with no seniors but we will be competitive and we will be gathering much needed experience that will make next years team even better," Garoffolo said.

The Falcons will host the Ludlowe Invitational on Dec. 18, featuring wrestlers from Fairfield Prep, Staples, Bridgeport Central, Ridgefield and Harding. Ludlowe will face off against cross-town rivals Warde at the Mustangs home gym on Feb. 9 to close the regular season.