• SWIMMERS DESERVE PRAISE — They often toil in anonymity.
To the casual McPherson High sports fan, names like Gaeddert, Powers, VanGoethem (times two, Dawson and Jori) and Stone, may not be that familiar.
They’re seldom seen by Bullpup fans. They never perform in front of the Bullpup faithful since they have no place for a home meet.
But they’re part of the 14-man Bullpup swimming contingent that on Saturday captured the first MHS AVCTL championship in 10 years.
If you asked the casual MHS fan the coach’s name, some would probably have a hard time coming up with the answer (Matt Morrow, by the way).
But it’s a group that deserves high praise. I liken swimmers to cross country runners, as they put in countless hours in the pool. Can you imagine how exhausting it must be to compete in a 500-meter event? It has to be tiring and every muscle in their body has to ache when it’s over.
Morrow’s team has been remarkably consistent. It won two invitationals in addition to the league, never finished below third in any meet, broke 8 school records and many on the team will be competing this weekend at the state meet in Topeka.
So I’m taking this time to salute the Bullpup swimmers and coach Morrow for a job well done.
• GIRLS STATE WRESTLING A SUCCESS — For some it was a curiosity.
For others, it was a preview of the future.
Forty-two schools sent competitors to the Roundhouse on Saturday for the first-ever Kansas State Girls Wrestling Tournament. You knew with MHS Athletic Director Shane Backhus and his staff running it, it would be a top-notch.
And it was.
Hundreds of fans streamed into the Roundhouse throughout the day and 96.7 KBBE-FM spearheaded the media coverage with four reports an hour, even catching some of the matches live. Matt Cole and Jerry Montagne did an excellent job and I had people tell me they heard it on the radio and decided to come out and see what it was about. There was also TV coverage and newspaper coverage, not to mention Midkansasonline.com being there.
There were various levels of skill, from accomplished wrestlers to those just in their first year. The seasoned wrestlers, such as McPherson’s one state champion Mya Kretzer, really knew what they were doing. When it got down to first-place matches, you could tell these girls had been doing it for a while.
A special shoutout goes to MHS coach Doug Kretzer, who put in countless hours promoting the event and making sure everything went off without a hitch. Kretzer is probably the biggest proponent of the sport there is. I have a feeling at some point we’re going to see the sport sanctioned by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.
• MHS BOYS NEED TO WIN OUT — For a long time it appeared McPherson High’s boys basketball team had no chance for the No. 1 sub-state seed.
But a recent slump by Hays has allowed the Bullpups to move into the top spot and they hopefully have no intentions of giving it up.
MHS is 12-4, while Hays and Buhler are 11-5, with Ulysses locked into the No. 4 spot. Of course, the three leaders want to play Ulysses in the first round. MHS would dearly like to sit back and watch Buhler and Hays go at it, which would certainly take a lot out of both teams.
With Buhler being the host, you know the Bullpups would just as soon not face the Crusaders in the first round as not only are they good, they’re also MHS’ biggest rival. The teams meet here Friday in the Roundhouse in one of the most anticipated games of the season.