Cloud County Community College is welcoming a wrestler who basically re-wrote the McPherson High record book.
MHS’ Austin Eldredge, who recently completed his illustrious career by winning the Class 4A 138-pound state championship, signed a letter of intent with the Concordia-based two-year school on Tuesday.
Eldredge, who was a four-time state qualifier and placed third in the state as a sophomore at 106 pounds, exits the hallowed MHS halls with a 136-24 record. His first victory at state this year broke the tie for most career Bullpup wins, as Travis Stites had 132 when he completed his career in 2000.
Eldredge was 29-13 as a freshman, 39-2 as a sophomore, 27-8 as a junior and then 41-3 this year. The 41 wins broke Ty Goss’ single-season school record by one and Eldredge’s 39 wins as a sophomore ranks No. 3.
In addition, Eldredge is the Kansas record-holder for career technical falls with 52 and he had 21 this past season, a school record. He broke his old mark of 15.
He also has the MHS record for single-season near-falls (110 in 2015) and career near-falls (340).
Eldredge figures to make an immediate impact at Cloud.
“I really, really enjoyed the coach,” he said as a big reason for picking the Thunderbirds. “It feels a lot like Mac to me. I feel like I’m part of the family already.”
Eldredge said his offers increased after winning state, with some out-of-state schools also courting him.
“It was just a matter of narrowing it down and figuring out which was the best for me,” he said.
Eldredge wrestled at 106 his first two years, then made a big jump to 132 as a junior, which he admitted was a stretch. It took him a year to get used to wrestling up, but he was dominant this year, winning the state title over Zach Eck of Andale in a 7-6 classic, that after he had beaten Eck 5-4 in a match earlier in the season.
“Last year I knew I didn’t put in enough hard work in to being a state champion,” he said, as he dedicated himself tirelessly in the offseason to get better for his final year. “This year I felt like I did.”
MHS coach Doug Kretzer said Eldredge has forever left his mark on the program.
“He walks out of here with a lot of records,” Kretzer said. “I think his skillset will relate well to college wrestling because of that point production. They have a 4-point near-fall rule in college. Those extra points will transfer really well for him given how efficient he is on top. That skillset is rewarded at the college level, being able to turn people.”
Kretzer said Eldredge has the ability to wrestle numerous weights.
“He has a good frame,” Kretzer said. “He can put on weight, he can keep his weight off. He has a lot of flexibility weight-wise. I think he can grow. I think he can go up or stay where he’s at and be effective there. I’m glad we kept him in Kansas so we can see him wrestle.”
Eldredge will be majoring in biology.