There’s a motto Truman wrestling coach Bill Allen keeps repeating to his team.

There’s a motto Truman wrestling coach Bill Allen keeps repeating to his team.

He said it’s kind of become the theme of the preseason and it was what he told his guys following Tuesday’s 46-27 dual meet loss to Raytown at Truman High School.

“We’ve got something to work with,” Allen said. “We’ll work with it. My message to them after is, ‘Be here. We’ll take care of it. Be here.’"

That’s what has to happen for the Patriots – a team that saw five wrestlers take the varsity mat for the first time Tuesday – to put together the kind of season they’re hoping for.

Truman’s inexperience was evident against the Blue Jays as the Pats fell into a 34-0 hole after dropping the first seven matches.

But the meet’s later matches exemplified why the squad is also harboring a wealth of optimism moving forward. Truman junior Matt Burress (113 pounds) earned a victory by pinfall for the Pats’ second triumph after Zach Bullard won by forfeit at 106. Dillon Houston (126) followed shortly after by pinning Raytown’s Jonathan Murray. Joel Fears seized a 5-4 decision over Luke Woolery in the 132 bracket and James Ryan pinned Donnale Holmes at 138 for the Pats’ final victory.

“I believe this loss tonight is going to help pick up the pace in the wrestling room,” Burress said. “This team’s young, so they don’t really know what high school wrestling is all about.”

Inexperienced, sure. But the Pats also exhibited a little bit of stubborn pride by refusing to fold against Raytown. That in itself is something Ryan said the squad can benefit from.

“What helped me is I looked up at the scoreboard and I didn’t want to lose by 19 (the deficit the Pats faced as Ryan took the mat),” the senior said. “... Every time you get on the mat it’s a learning experience. Even if you don’t win this time, you learned what you did wrong so you know what to do next time.”

That’s what the focus is now, Allen said, and the Pats now have some study material to examine after getting their first meet out of the way.

“We’ll be doing mostly the same things we have been doing,” Allen said. “I think I can emphasize a little bit more and point things out now that they’ve had the opportunity to actually wrestling in a meet. I can say, ‘This is why we’re doing this. This is what happened to you and this is why.’ We’re emphasizing the basics, and we’re going to keep right on emphasizing the basics.”