The McPherson High wrestling practice room is filled to the brim.
Just the way MHS coach Doug Kretzer likes it.
“We've got a hard-working group,” said Kretzer, whose team has wrapped up its first week of practice. “Our numbers are tremendous this season. We've got 53 kids who are on the team between wrestlers and managers. That's a lot of kids in the room. We'll finally get all our football players back today. I've really been impressed with how our team is committed to the development of each other and that's a testament to our leaders in the room.”
While there’s many newcomers, it’s the veterans Kretzer is counting on to lead the way.
“We had a core group of kids putting in the extra time since last season,” Kretzer said. “Austin Eldredge, Brynton Crews, Scott Radke, Mya Kretzer and EJ Kretzer really worked hard all off season with the club and Olympic style season. This was time well spent because they look extra sharp so far. We talk about ‘you get out what you put in’ and these five kids put the time during the off season.”
Kretzer said there should be plenty of competition in practice.
“Our biggest strength should be our depth,” he said. “For the first time in a while we’re going to have good kids who are not going to be varsity. I see our varsity wrestle-offs being very intense all year.”
Kretzer said the success of the program has attracted some newcomers.
“We've got a lot of kids that are new to the sport, so we've been taking it slow for the first week,” he said. “I'd say were a little behind on where I want us to be technique-wise. Starting this week the new ones are going to have to keep up mentally, because we'll begin to speed things up during instruction.”
The Bullpups begin their season Dec. 1 hosting Rose Hill. The dual has a 6 p.m. start in the auxiliary gym.