COLBY — McPherson High’s youthful wrestling team will be represented at state by two freshmen beginning Friday at Salina's Bicentennial Center.
Austin Eldredge at 106 and Kobe Unruh at 160 were the only Bullpups able to survive the Class 4A regional gauntlet this past weekend.
"Austin had an excellent tournament," MHS coach Doug Kretzer said. "Of all the 4A 106 regionals, he was probably in the toughest of the four. He wrestled outstanding. I was really happy for him because he was wrestled so well as a freshman this year.
"Kobe also had a tremendous tournament. He had a big upset over the No. 4 seed in his first match. That really set him up well. The coaching staff thought Kobe could really be a sleeper because he has really been wrestling well in the second half of the season."
Eldredge took fourth place after losing a 6-1 decision to Abilene’s Logan McDowell. He had clinched his berth in the state meet by edging Smoky Valley’s Austin Lustfield, who did not advance despite entering the weekend with a 35-4 record.
Unruh lost by a fall to Chapman’s Stone Hayden in his third-place match. He cinched his spot when he pinned Ulysses’ Angel Moncayo.
The Bullpups had several wrestlers come up one match short of wrestling for a state berth.
"Cole Kretzer, Jose Gloria, Todd Graber and Michael McKinney fell one match short," Doug Kretzer said. "It was hard on all four, but I really felt for our two senior captains Todd and Jose. Both wrestled their hearts out, but it wasn't meant to be. Todd has been on varsity for the last three years and I know he really wanted a state berth badly. Jose really wanted it, too."
MHS took 10th out of 14 teams with 71 points and were only six points out of eighth.
Meanwhile, Smoky Valley — which took third place behind Goodland and Abilene — will move five wrestlers on, four of whom captured championships.
Brandon Archuleta stopped Clay Center’s Hunter Mullin 5-2 to win the 132-pound class.
The Vikings, as expected, flexed their power in the upper weights, as Austin Cook at 170, Spencer Bird at 182 and Brix Brickey at 285 won titles.
Cook, who entered the day 40-0, was a 7-2 winner over Colton Cooper of Goodland in his title match. Bird won by injury default over Colby’s Andrew Taylor in the finals, while Brickey dominated Chapman’s Jason Zook for a 7-2 win.
The other Viking to qualify was Caleb Sare, who was third at 120.