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Bellarmine to introduce its newest sport with 'Wrestling 101'

By Mark Palmer, InterMat Senior Writer, 10/24/16, 11:15PM EDT

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Bellarmine University students are about to be "schooled" on the oldest and greatest sport -- wrestling, which happens to be the Louisville school's newest intercollegiate sport -- at a "Wrestling 101" event this Thursday.

The free "introduction to wrestling" program will take place at Frazier Hall on the Bellarmine campus on Thursday, Oct. 20. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with complimentary hot dogs, drinks and popcorn available, courtesy of Bellarmine Interim President Dr. Doris Tegart. 

The formal program will begin at 6 p.m. with the introduction of the team and coaching staff. The Knights wrestlers will then put on an exhibition, with head wrestling coach Spencer Adams "miked up" to provide commentary. In addition, handouts will be available to help explain rules and wrestling terms.

Following the exhibition, fans will be invited to a "meet and greet" on the main floor, where the team will be available to sign free posters featuring the schedule for the inaugural season of Bellarmine wrestling in 2016-17. 

Wrestling is Bellarmine's 22d intercollegiate sport -- and the tenth men's sport. The new Knights wrestling program will compete in NCAA Division II. 

Back in June, Bellarmine announced it would essentially "absorb" the intercollegiate wrestling program at St. Catharine College, a tiny college in central Kentucky, which had announced it would be closing its doors this past summer.

As InterMat reported back on June 15, "Bellarmine's decision to absorb the St. Catharine mat program is good news for the staff and wrestlers at the soon-to-be-closed school. The Patriots' head wrestling coach Spencer Adams and assistant coach Gary Canter will remain coaches at Bellarmine, and all former SCC team members wishing to transfer will be retained as well. In addition, Bellarmine will honor the commitment to all of the St. Catharine signees for the 2016-17 season, provided they meet Bellarmine admission standards, according to the Bellarmine announcement." 

"Although wrestling wasn't originally in our short-range plans, St. Catharine's closing certainly made starting a new program a viable and logical option," said Bellarmine Director of Athletics Scott Wiegandt back in June. "Taking over an existing program allows us to hit the ground running while allowing Coach Adams to build on the inroads he made since founding the program at St. Catharine two years ago."

Head coach Spencer Adams weighed in with his thoughts on the significance of Bellarmine adding wrestling to its roster of intercollegiate sports.

"This is also a great day for the sport of wrestling in the state of Kentucky as Bellarmine University makes history in adding the only NCAA II wrestling program in the state," Adams said in June. "I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to start yet another wrestling program and to provide my student athletes with a bright future here at Bellarmine University."

Founded in 1950, Bellarmine (pronounced BEL-ur-men) University is a private, Catholic, four-year school located just outside downtown Louisville. Bellarmine has an enrollment of approximately 3,600 students. Its Knights sports teams - including its new wrestling program - compete in NCAA Division II.