The wrestling season continues to resemble a trial by fire for the McPherson Bullpups of coach Doug Kretzer.
This week will certainly test the youthful team, as it hosts Winfield for a 6 p.m. dual match on Thursday, then participates Friday and Saturday in the Newton Tournament of Champions, which is to wrestling what the McPherson Invitational is to basketball.
First things first, Kretzer is hoping a big crowd will be on hand Thursday to spur on the Bullpups. They could be a bit hamstrung as some injuries and illness have hit the team.
“Winfield should be a very competitive dual,” Kretzer said. “Both teams are similar in numbers and talent. We are fighting some illness and injury, but I expect us to perform well at home for this dual. We'd love to get a great turnout of fan support, this is our second-to-last home competition for the year.”
The Newton tournament could be an eye-opening experience for the Bullpups. It is even more difficult than the state tournament, as in the past powerhouse teams from Oklahoma and even New Mexico have taken part, not to mention most of the best teams in Kansas regardless of class.
“Newton will be a loaded tournament, 27 teams,” Kretzer said. “Many of these teams are ranked in the Top 10 of their respective classes. We will only be taking seasoned varsity wrestlers to Newton. This is one of the toughest tournaments around the state throughout the course of the year. This will provide our wrestlers to test their mettle against the best of the best. It's not uncommon to have multiple state champions, placers and ranked wrestlers in each bracket.”