NEW MILFORD - You know that New Milford wrestling coach Chris Piel and his team have their eyes on a bigger prize than regular season wins by the fact they are actively looking for losses to test their abilities.

However, the Green Wave keep on winning ahead of another big tuneup this weekend when they host the annual New Milford Wrestling Tournament on Saturday at New Milford High School.

The event has grown to 20 teams, and this year will feature last year’s New England champ Bishop Hendricken. For a while, New Milford would have to go on the road to face an opponent the quality of a Bishop Hendricken, but four straight Class L state titles and constantly being among the state’s and region’s best teams is getting the Green Wave noticed.

“Word is starting to travel that we are a good team,” Piel said. “People will travel to wrestle us. Powerhouses are willing to come to us because they know they will get good competition.”

Good competition is what Piel is looking for every day. His wrestlers compete and push each other in practice day in and day out, and then the Green Wave go out and look for the best competition they can find.

Sometimes it is in a dual meet, like the hard-fought 36-27 victory over SWC rival Newtown on Jan. 11, and sometimes it’s across the state line like when New Milford went on the road to West Springfield and won three matches, including a 35-28 victory over Springfield Central, one of the best teams in Massachusetts.

“That was a physical match. They pushed us,” Piel said.

And being pushed is what it is all about, but so far a lot of New Milford’s dual meets have been one sided, a 67-9 victory over Bethel, a 61-12 beating of Masuk, a 76-6 win over Bunnell.

“Some teams are not fielding full programs and there are too many forfeits in a lot of our matches in the SWC,” Piel said. “Newtown was a great match, but a lot of times when we want to face really good competition we have to travel.”

The Green Wave hit the road because there is more to gain from a match like the one against Newtown or Springfield Central than a rout in the SWC. The prize comes at the end of the season, the state championship meets, the state open and New Englands. Everything else is just part of the journey to get there.

“We want to see different competition so you are ready for New Englands and prepared for future, I want some of the kids to take a loss and bounce back from it,” Piel said. “I’m looking for losses for some of our guys. We want them battle tested and ready for the championship part of the season. I feel like if you go undefeated it was not tough enough of a season.”

Among some of the wrestlers standing out so far this season are CJ Schultz, Cameron Berger, David Angulo, Mel Ortiz and Tyler Schultz. All will be tested this weekend at the New Milford Tournament that brings the entire town wrestling community together.

“The tournament has grown and is a lot of work but we have great parents,” Piel said “It’s a program not just a team and that’s the reason it works. We have the feeder program running tables and those parents come help as well as our parents putting in time all day. We can’t run a successful tournament or program without them.”