The Marceline wrestling team opened its season on Tuesday night in a tri with Gallatin and Maysville, and also debuted its girls' wrestling program.
The Tigers split the night, routing Maysville 57-12 and falling to Gallatin later in the night, 45-31.
At this time of the season, so freshly out of fall sports, the Tigers have ample open spots. State champion Clayton Stallo did not wrestle on Tuesday night because first-year coach Austin Bruner did not want to make him certify weight on the day of the event.
Junior 160-pounder Cullen Bruner said that the team will be ready to rock before the holiday break and that fitness, more so than technique, is the team's biggest focal point.
"We beat those two teams in football, so they have a little extra on us," Bruner said. "We have a little bit to work on fitness-wise, but that's some stuff we'll work on in the coming weeks. Our practices have to be good. Our coaches do a great job of teaching us what to know, and we've always done a good job of keying in on that.
"If we lose, it's not the end of the world. We know it doesn't matter where we're at until later on."
One could argue that the most compelling match of the evening was between Maysville's Zoie Sears and Marceline's Gracey Jordan in the 116-pound weight class.
Jordan, who had never wrestled competitively in her life, was eventually defeated by pin fall, but not before making a high-scoring match interesting.
"We have 10 total girls out, and that was (Jordan's) first live match ever," Austin Bruner, graduate of the 2011 Marceline class, said. "We put them through some tough stuff, and it's exciting that they're so invested.
"Shape wise, we're a long way from where we need to be. I'm proud of how we competed, and I'm pleased with tonight but we've got a lot of room for improvement. We need to get better on our feet and improve on our transition wrestling. We need to believe in the process of getting better day by day."