For McPherson High wrestling coach Doug Kretzer, it’s a nice problem to have.
The MHS practice room is filled to capacity, something that’s probably never happened in the history of the program.
“Our numbers are great,” said Kretzer, whose team opens its season Thursday with a 6 p.m. dual at Rose Hill. “We've got a lot of kids out this year. It's a very full room. Competition is intense, but we still have not had a practice yet where we have the whole team in the room. Between the holiday and the football season going deep into the playoffs, we’re still waiting to get everyone together at the same time.”
Kretzer doesn’t know what to expect from Rose Hill since it’s the first match of the season. MHS was 13-3 in dual matches last year and had three wrestlers place at state.
“Rose Hill has some tough kids back from last year,” he said. “Being the first dual for both teams, I don't know what kind of numbers they have out, but we're looking forward to the dual.”
The Bullpups are having to replace state champion Austin Eldredge, now competing for Cloud County Community College. But Kretzer has seen a number of candidates step up to lead the team and some could very well be Final Four candidates in Salina.
“As I mentioned, we haven't had our football players much, but two weeks into the season we've got quite a few kids who are really setting the tempo in practice,” Kretzer said. “Brynton Crews, Scott Radke, Mya Kretzer, Rhett Edmonson, Landon Crews, EJ Kretzer, Seth Morgan, Landon Frantz, Ian Alumbaugh, Bailey Yarborough and others. The ones I mentioned have done well, but there are a bunch of others right on their heels. We will be wrapping up challenge matches this week, so look for some really good wrestle-offs.”
Edmonson was second in the state last year at 106, while Radke and Mya Kretzer had tremendous summers. Yarborough already has signed with Bethany after finishing sixth in the state last year.
The girls program has caught fire at MHS and the Bullpups will be hosting a girls-only tournament on Saturday, with mat time set for 9 a.m. in conjunction with the JV boys tournament
“The girls tournament is going to be a lot of fun,” Kretzer said. “We have 18 girls out. Many of the schools are bringing multiple girls. Spring Hill is bringing 8 to 10 and we've got 12 teams as of right now. Many of our girls are first-year wrestlers, but we have some very good girls participating, too. Hannah Moore, Kaleigh Marbut, and Haley Schafer have really stood out on our girls side.”