Nick Palumbo and the Sacred Heart staff celebrate after the 2021 EIWA semifinals (Photo/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
Sacred Heart Pioneers
"As a team, we are very excited to have a full season with 40 returners from last year. It will be a fun season, as I believe this could possibly be the best team ever in program history. We are looking forward to a tough schedule that includes a dual with Penn State and the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas" - Head Coach John Clark
The Pioneers will look to improve on their eighth-place finish at the EIWA Conference last season. The roster will include nine of ten starters returning for another season, headlined by two NCAA Qualifiers. Nick Palumbo and Joe Accousti were the first Pioneers to qualify for the NCAA Championships in 14 years.
Nick Palumbo (2021 EIWA 2nd, NCAA Qualifier)
Joe Accousti (2021 EIWA 6th, NCAA Qualifier)
Coach Clark was ecstatic regarding the fact that so many of his wrestlers are returning after last season. This speaks for the great retention Sacred Heart is currently showing. Many of the athletes are returning for a fifth and sixth year of eligibility, due to the COVID "free year," all student-athletes were gifted. As mentioned previously, forty wrestlers returned from last season.
With 36 incoming freshmen (adding to the 40 returners), Sacred Heart has a gigantic roster of 76 student-athletes. Coach Clark wants to give everyone a chance to prove themselves, making it difficult to name just a few key newcomers. With a large incoming class, we are most likely expected to see a few of the freshman breakout over their careers with the Pioneers. Only time will tell as to whom it may beâ€¦
WRESTLER TO WATCH
The first key wrestler in the line-up is returning NCAA Qualifier Nick Palumbo. As an EIWA runner-up, Nick is hitting his stride at the correct time. Previously Nick was wrestling at Buffalo but settled in nicely at Sacred Heart. Look for him to man the 157lb weight class for the Pioneers.
Joe Accousti is the second returning NCAA Qualifier to be back in the line-up this season. Joe is another transfer who has made a home at Sacred Heart. Previously, at Appalachian State, look for him to be one of the leaders of the team while representing the Pioneers at the 184lb weight class.
Unfortunately, neither wrestler won a match at the NCAA Championships last season. Looking on the bright side, having this experience with another year left is priceless. They will set a great example for the young freshmen coming into the room. All seventy-six athletes will benefit from having guys like Palumbo and Accousti in the room.
125: Sean Faraon (Sr)
133: Kyle Randall (Sr)
141: Jordan Carlucci (So)
149: Shaun Williams (Sr)
157: Nick Palumbo (Sr)
165: Scott Jarosz (So)
174: Joe Accousti (Sr)/Rob Hetherman (Sr)
184: Rob Hetherman (Sr)/Joe Accousti (Sr)
197: Dante DelBonis (Sr)
285: Mark Blokh (Sr)