This is a great week for McPherson High wrestling.
On Thursday, the Bullpups won only their second-ever league championship when they went into Winfield and took down the Vikings 40-27 to claim the title. MHS’ other league championship had been in 2004.
Winfield was the defending league champion, having won the title at the MHS Auxiliary Gym last year, which no doubt provided the Bullpups with extra motivation.
Also on Thursday, the Bullpups managed to keep their focus after the thrilling victory to flatten Wellington 55-17 in their final dual match of the season.
The Bullpups thus finished the regular season with a 15-1 dual record, the only loss coming to Class 5A power Valley Center in the Colby Invitational. MHS will now have time to ready itself for a very tough regional and hopefully it can advance a healthy number of members on to state.
Back in the day, MHS used to qualify anywhere from 8 to 10 wrestlers for state, but that’s when it was 5A. At 4A, you have nearly the double the teams and extra rounds, which makes it more difficult to advance. With so many teams, schools generally have at least 4 or 5 really good wrestlers and some of the weight classes are loaded with a half-dozen entrants.
On Saturday, the girls will take center stage at the Roundhouse with the Kansas Girls Wrestling Championships. While this event isn’t yet recognized by KSHSAA, it is hoped that momentum from the event will make that a reality at some point.
It will be a terrific day. MHS Athletic Director Shane Backhus and his staff orchestrate only top-shelf events and you can bet no other school would be able to do it better.
A lot of credit for Thursday as well as Saturday goes to MHS coach Doug Kretzer, who works tirelessly to make his team better as well as supporting wrestling in general. If not for Kretzer’s relentless efforts, an event like Saturday’s probably would not take place. Kretzer believes it’s a great opportunity for girls to be noticed by college coaches since wrestling is becoming more and more popular at that level.
I attended last year’s girls event and was amazed at how advanced some of the competitors are. You could separate the experienced wrestlers from the inexperienced wrestlers as some of the matches were over quickly. But in the finals, you often had some really exciting matches.
I urge McPherson fans to at least give it a look. I think you’ll be surprised at the skillset and the Bullpups have many chances to take honors as they’ll have 17 entrants.