Tri-County Sunday Writer
 RIDGWAY - One of these years it's going to happen, but don't look for
it any time soon.
 The Ridgway Area High School wrestling team isn't about to give up its
status as not only one of District 9's top teams but one of the top Class
AA programs in the state.
 With as many as 12 wrestlers back with varsity experience from last
year's 14-1 squad which won its eighth D-9 title in the last 10 years and
finished as the top-ranked dual meet team in the state by Off the Mat
Rankings, the Elkers are primed for another good season that they hope will
end in a state title with the addition of the PIAA Dual Meet Championships.
 "We always set our goals high and that's definitely one of them this
season," said Ridgway head coach Gary Gerber, who enters his 17th season
with 207-28 career record.
 But Gerber is quick to point out that at first glance their lineup
might not look so strong.
 "On paper, we look like we may have some trouble," he said. "It's kind
of deceiving because some of the kids just lack some experience."
 The Elkers could have as many as six wrestlers in their lineup that
will be fulltime starters at the varsity level for the first time. But the
seven fulltime starters they do have back are solid.
 Of those seven, one is a two-time state placewinner and another is a
state qualifer. Senior Bruno Iorfido is back after a fifth-place finish at
103 last season while leading the Tri-County Area in wins with a 37-2
record. Iorfido placed fourth two years ago at 103. With a career reccord
of 102-14, Iorfido has a shot at becoming his school's and the area's
all-time wins leader. He needs 30 wins to pass former Elker John
Cappiello's mark of 131-8. Look for Iorfido to start the season at 119
before dropping to 112 and possibly 103 again.
 Iorfido will be pushed once again by fellow classmate Dave Predko.
Predko (31-5) was a state qualifier last season at 112 after winning a
district title and placing second at regionals. Predko will start the
season at 112 and may drop to 103 where he and Iorfido could battle it out
for the postseason spot there as they have the past two seasons.
 "They're both looking as good as ever and both are certified at 103
again," Gerber said of his two stars. 'They're two different kids, but the
both want to be state champs. Both are pushing each other. It's so nice two
have two kids that you don't have to worry about during practice."
 Not far behind those two in Gerber's eyes is junior Greg Puncheon, who
came one win away from qualifying for states last season. Puncheon, who
will be one of Ridgway's three captains along with Iorfido and Puncheon,
went 28-5 last season while winning a D-9 title at 130. He'll start the
season at 145.
 The Elkers had three other regional qualifiers last season in juniors
Paul and Chris Shilk and senior Justin Costion.
 Paul Shilk (26-9), who will enter his third season as the Elkers'
heavyweight, was the D-9 runner-up at heavyweight. Chris Shilk (23-15) also
enters his third season as a starter and was third at districts at 140 last
season. He'll start this season at 152. Costion (23-14) was third at
districts at 189 and will begin this season there as well. Look for Costion
to drop to 171 when the rest of the lineup drops after the two-pound weight
allowance kicks in on Jan. 15.
 The other fulltime starter back is senior Andy Steger (17-13), who will
start this season at 130.
 Others with experience from last year that will become fulltime
starters this season include juniors Brad Dutchcot (7-8) at 135, Nick
Zameroski (1-7) at 140 and Scott Cyphert (2-6) at 160.
 Rounding out the lineup will be some newcomers to the varsity level.
Freshman Josh Anderson will start at 103, sophomore Dan Rudolph will be at
125 and sophomore Kalen Fitch will be at 171. Fitch's twin brother, Kaleb,
will crack the lineup at 189 once everybody drops down a weight and after
he returns from a shoulder injury he suffered during football season.
 With not much experienced depth on their 23-man roster, the key for the
Elkers will be staying healthy.
 "The key to our success is staying healthy and the kids reaching their
maximum potential," Gerber said.
 And Gerber knows exactly where they need that maximum potential to come
 "From 125-140 will decide it for us," he said. "If two of the four
there become solid we'll be okay. We need the lead going into Puncheon
because we'll be strong on top."
 The Elkers, which opened the season the Friday at St. Marys, will once
again travel to the Jamestown, Manheim Central and Tool City tournaments in
addition to anticipated dual meets with Bald Eagle-Nittany, DuBois and
Brookville as well as the Ultimate Duals.
Dave Predko, Bruno Iorfido, Andy Steger, Joe Bolitski, 
Justin Costion, Gary Jones, Nate Luchs. 

Brad Dutchcot, Nick Zameroski,
Greg Puncheon, Scott Cyphert, Josh Gustafson, Paul Shilk, Chris Shilk.

Dan Rudolph, Paul Greich, Casey Benson, Dan Fiscus, Kalen
Fitch, Kaleb Fitch, Karl Becker, Brian Scarnatti. 

Freshman: Josh Anderson.