McPherson High wrestling coach Doug Kretzer says there should be no excuses this season.
Kretzer has sent out painfully young teams the last couple of years, loaded with freshmen and sophomores.
Predictably, they took their lumps. But with those wrestlers now juniors and seniors, maybe it’s the Bullpups’ turn to inflict some lumps of their own.
MHS should find out a lot about itself when it opens the season on Thursday at Andale.
The Indians enter the 6 p.m. dual with a No. 7 Class 4A state ranking. They also have three wrestlers ranked in the preseason Top 5 — Zach Eck at 132, Davon Spexarth at 182 and Anthony Capul at 195.
“We will fill all our weights, so that's a good start to any dual,” Kretzer said. “The team as a whole is really practicing well. We're getting our weight down and getting the right kids separated. We're ready to wrestle someone other than our own team. I can't wait and the kids are excited as well.”
The Bullpups will still have some youth, but there’s more experience than in year’s past, especially at the end of the lineup.
“We’re finally a more veteran team,” Kretzer said at AVCTL Media Day. “We have good juniors and seniors. We’ve been young and putting a lot of young kids out there on the varsity mat for the last two or three years. We should really be tough in league. We’ve got a good group of hard-working kids and they’re hungry. I’m excited.”
The Bullpups are led by junior Austin Eldredge, who has bumped up in weight from 106. He was third in the state last year, but has matured to 126 pounds where he shouldn’t miss a beat as he’s coming off a 39-2 season. He actually was ranked No. 2 at 120 in the preseason, but has gone up a weight.
Another MHS standout will be Kaleb Jost at 182 as he’s coming off a 25-win season. Also, heavyweight Ty Goss was 23-16 and at 6-7 and 285 pounds, he presents a lot of problems for his opponents. Cole Kretzer, at 120, was a 16-match winner last year.
All three are seniors.
“We have a handful of kids flying below the radar,” Kretzer said. “I’m excited to see what we can do. We’re still going to have some young ones in the lighter weights, but we’ve got more experience in the upper weights.”
The expected lineup:
106 — EJ Kretzer
113 — Mya Kretzer
120 — Cole Kretzer
126 — Austin Eldredge
132 — Ben Hopkins or Brynton Crews
138 —Scott Radke
145 —Brice Kasting
152 — Bailey Yarborough
160 — Luke Thompson
170 — Caleb Giddings
182 — Kaleb Jost
195 — Dylan Baldwin
220 — Alex Grennan
285 — Ty Goss