McPherson High will be joined by nearly half of Class 4A’s Top 10 this weekend for a regional wrestling tournament in Colby, which for the Bullpups is a 236-mile trip.
The top four placers in each weight class move on to Salina next week and McPherson High hopes to be well represented.
The action begins at 10 a.m. Friday and continues at 8 a.m. Saturday.
MHS will be joined by 14 other teams, including state-ranked Goodland (No. 4), Smoky Valley (6), Colby (8) and Abilene (9), while Buhler has flirted with a state ranking.
“Postseason qualifying tournaments can be a funny thing, everyone has a shot,” MHS coach Doug Kretzer said. “If you have a bad day, you're done, if you have a good day you got a chance. I really believe the majority of our team is wrestling their best right now. A lot of this weekend comes down to how bad you want it. Due to the inexperience of our team, I'm not sure how many we can get through, but I can tell you we will show up and wrestle hard — which is what we've done all year.”
The Bullpups have some outstanding records, led by Austin Eldredge at 106 (25-7, despite missing a month of the season), Todd Graber at 145 (21-9) and Cole Kretzer at 113 (16-12).
“I don't think you can base a lot on records due to the level of competition we face throughout the year,” said Kretzer, who purposely schedules tougher teams in order to ready his team for the postseason.
As for Smoky Valley, Viking coach Ben Elliott’s team is coming off a championship of the Central Kansas League Tournament and it is wrestling as well as it has all year.
That being said, Elliott is hoping that at least a half-dozen performers can get through.
Wrestlers to watch are Austin Lustfield at 106, Austin Cook at 170, Spencer Bird at 182, Ethan Loder at 195 and Brix Brickey at 285, all of whom were crowned CKL champions last week. Noah Lackey at 126 and Brandon Archuleta at 132 took second.