In a double dual against Dexter and Sikeston, the Notre Dame wrestling program made its official debut.
The Bulldogs, being led by former longtime Sikeston coach Marc Stevener, lost both duals but demonstrated they are a program with vast potential.
Dexter rolled to a 56-24 victory against Notre Dame, which won only one match on the mat. The Bulldogs then put together a stronger showing in a 47-36 loss to Sikeston. Notre Dame, which forfeited three matches in each of the duals, posted five victories in the 10 matches wrestled against Sikeston.
Freshman Trevor Foltz gained the distinction of winning the first match in Notre Dame history, pinning Dexter junior D.J. Horn in 26 seconds in their 189-pound match. Foltz later collected a second first-period pin against Sikeston sophomore Austin Henson.
"We're the first wrestling team from Notre Dame. This is where it all starts right here."
While the Bulldogs are a newcomer to the wrestling scene, Foltz is not. He has logged eight years of youth experience with Jackson USA Wrestling.
"We're not all just beginners," Foltz said. "There's a few of us that have a background."
Stevener is an experienced coach for the fledgling program. He coached 21 years at Sikeston High School before he spent nine years at Hazelwood Central in St. Louis. He was out of coaching for three years before accepting the job at Notre Dame.
"Starting a program is a lot different than walking into a program," Stevener said. "Sikeston always had good wrestling and Hazelwood Central had good wrestling. You know, you just kind of build from what you have there.
"When you start with the first brick, it's a lot more difficult."
Stevener said the majority of the 19 wrestlers in the program are getting their first taste of competitive wrestling.
"I'd say 70 percent didn't know how to line up, didn't know how to put a singlet on," Stevener said. "I think they've made a great commitment to get better."
Stevener said the school has been supportive of its new program. The program held its challenge matches with an official Wednesday before the entire student body at lunch time.
"That's the first time the majority of those Notre Dame people have seen wrestling," Stevener said. "The kids were excited. That's the first time my kids have been on a full mat. It was an experience for them. So it's been a week for us."
The Bulldogs filled out 11 of the 14 weight classes Thursday, and six were freshmen. The team also fielded sophomores and two juniors.
"Our depth is not real deep and our experience is not real deep either," Stevener said. "You're talking about freshmen. Yes, they have the USA, AAU experience, but you know at the high school level it's still another step."
Freshman Trenton Gross wrestled the first match for the Bulldogs at 119 after a pair of forfeits. Gross lost a 16-13 decision to Dexter's David Dement.
Freshman 103-pounder Austin Harter officially recorded the first points in Notre Dame history when he picked up a forfeit in the Dexter match.
"I think we did really good for a first-year program against Sikeston," Harter said.
Harter is one of the few wrestlers with an extensive youth background, and it showed when he finally got to take the mat against Sikeston. He pinned Cody Middleton in the third period.
"I wasn't sure what to expect," Harter said. "I never had wrestled that kid from Sikeston before. But I was pretty confident."
Junior Austin Kight (125), freshman Seth Sievers (130), sophomore Frank Stallings (140) and Foltz followed with pins, as Notre Dame held its own with Sikeston.
Sikeston ultimately gained control with pins at 160 and 171, which determined the match since Notre Dame had forfeits at 215 and 285.
Harter said sophomore Josh Glaus will step into the 215-pound class, but that he didn't have enough practices to wrestle in Thursday's varsity match. His brother, Ryan, is a candidate for 215.
But the 103-pound Harter said the 285-pound class will remain a problem.
"If I could go 285, I would," Harter said. "That might be a problem all year because we've got to forfeit every match until we get a 285 pounder."
Notre Dame also will be able to fill the 112 spot, which was vacant Thursday due to a wrestler not making weight.
"This is our first meet, and our expectations are that we will get better by the end of the year," Stevener said.
Dexter 56, Notre Dame 24
103 -- Austin Harter (ND) forfeit
112 -- Hunter Hardin (D) forfeit
119 -- David Dement (D) dec. Trenton Gross, 16-13
125 -- Austin Kight (ND) forfeit
130 -- Ryan Vanover (D) pin Seth Sievers, :25
135 -- David de Rouse (ND) forfeit
140 -- T.J. Stoner (D) maj. dec. Frank Stallings, 19-4
145 -- Codi Stevens (D) pin Nathan Davis, 1:51
152 -- Dylan Harid (D) pin Tyler Hulshof, 1:58
160 -- John Reeves (D) pin Alex Boner, 4:30
171 -- Zach Watson (D) pin Alex Elsey, 3:57
189 -- Trevor Foltz (ND) pin D.J. Horn, :26
215 -- Daniel McClendon (D) forfeit
285 -- Zach Lacy (D) forfeit
Sikeston 47, Notre Dame 36
103 -- Austin Harter (ND) pin Cody Middleton, 4:20
112 -- Blake Angle (S) forfeit
119 -- Jacob Stinnett (S) maj. dec. Trenton Gross, 17-2
125 -- Austin Kight (ND) pin Terrance Dorsey, 5:09
130 -- Seth Sievers (ND) pin Antwan Dorsey, 1:37
135 -- Dustin Wells (S) pin David De Rouse, 2:25
140 -- Frank Stallings (ND) pin Lee Smith, :59
145 -- Dustin Ruby (S) pin Nathan Davis, 5:00
152 -- Tyrone Webb (S) pin Tyler Hulshof, 1:23
160 -- Greg Hale (S) pin Alex Boner, 5:38
171 -- Alex Elsey (ND) forfeit
189 -- Trevor Foltz (ND) pin Austin Henson, 1:18
215 -- Jakhil Valentine (S) forfeit
285 -- Josh Carlyle (S) forfeit