Tanner Utley referred to St. Edmond season opening wrestling dual with Clear Lake as a measuring stick.
Utley, making his debut as the Gael head coach, saw his squad drop a North Central Conference match to the Lions, falling 43-21 inside the SEHS gym Thursday night.
For Utley, the end result is of little importance right now.
With a roster featuring just as many new wrestlers as returners, St. Edmond (0-1 overall, 0-1 in NCC) won four matches courtesy sixth-ranked Kaden McClintock, No. 5 Teddie Harvey, Dillon Nelson and fifth-rated Vinnie Harvey. McClintock and Teddie Harvey each won by fall, while Vinnie Harvey earned a forfeit.
"I liked that we battled in each match," said Utley, a former St. Edmond state qualifier on the mat. "I told the kids that we don't want to be at our best right now, we want to be at our best in February.
"These are all building-block opportunities for us, and we'll take this (dual) and head back to the wrestling room and work on everything."
CLEAR LAKE 43, ST. EDMOND 21
285 - Mitchell Jordan, CL pinned Caelan Burbank, 1:02; 106 - Ryan Schmalen, CL dec. Ryan Szalat, 6-3; Kaden McClintock, SE pinned Brennan Doebel, 2:46; 120 - Ryan Faught, CL dec. Colten Lastine, 4-1; 126 - Spencer Orr, CL pinned Nick Johnson, 5:52; 132 - Sam Lakose, CL dec. Eddie Harvey, 10-3; 138 - Carson Farmer, CL dec. Matt Stumpf, 8-3; 145 - Blake Kelso, CL pinned Parker Huebsch, 2:35; 152 - Teddie Harvey, SE pinned TJ Hauser, 2:21; 160 - Logan Wilcke, CL major dec. Nick Hindt, 11-2; 170 - Brice Wilcke, CL pinned Jimmy Averill, :41; 182 - Dillon Nelson, SE dec. Connor Nosbisch, 8-2; 195 - Noah Holt, CL dec. Jacob Salisbury, 7-5 (OT); 220 - Vinnie Harvey, SE won by forfeit.
McClintock, who improved to 77-8 in his career, locked in a cradle early in the second period to defeat Brennan Doebel. The junior was a state qualifier for the Gaels a year ago.
Teddie Harvey had a similar match, controlling TJ Hauser before sticking his shoulders to the canvas in just over two minutes. The senior is now 101-26 in three-plus seasons.
"Kaden and Teddie went out and took care of business," Utley said. "They know what we expect out of them, and they showed what they are capable of (Thursday night)."
Nelson wasn't able to put his opponent, Connor Nosbisch away, but he used his power to record a pair of takedowns and work Nosbisch several times on the mat.
"We knew Clear Lake would be a good test for us right out of the gates," Utley said. "They are a strong program and we just made a few mental mistakes - that are correctable - out there.
"The good thing is the mistakes we made we can, and will, fix."
Mitchell Jordan, fourth-ranked Ryan Schmalen, Ryan Faught, Spencer Orr, Sam Lakose, Carson Farmer, Blake Kelso, Logan Wilcke, Brice Wilcke and Noah Holt all earned wins for the Lions (1-0, 1-0).
The Gaels return to action this Saturday at the Manson Northwest Webster Invitational. Start time is set for 10 a.m.
Picking up wins for the St. Edmond junior varsity were Peyton Sitzmann, Chase Craven, Colin Birzer and Kyle Lawler. Sitzmann and Craven each won two matches.