A year ago when his painfully young McPherson High wrestling team was taking some lumps, Bullpup coach Doug Kretzer said there will come a time when his team will be the one imposing its will on the opposition.
It may be not this year, but that day is getting closer.
Kretzer still has a young team that will take to the mat at 6 p.m. Thursday against Andale in the MHS Auxiliary Gym. But it’s one that should put up much more of a fight.
“With only two seniors on the team, we've got a lot of youth and inexperience in our lineup,” Kretzer said. “I think we will be fairly tough in tournaments because I think we've got some really strong individual wrestlers who can score us some points. This is a very hard-working bunch of kids and I feel like we will really grow throughout this year.”
MHS and Andale have wrestled tight matches the last two years, the Bullpups winning two years ago and the Indians last year, both of which went right down to the end. Andale just won the Class 4A Division II football title and it's unknown whether the players who wrestle will be competing or will be out for a buffer week.
Perhaps the most exciting Bullpup competitor will be 106-pounder Austin Eldredge, who was a state qualifier last year, but didn’t place. He was 29-11 despite the fact he missed the early part of the year with a hand injury.
Cole Kretzer and Kobe Unruh, both expected to be mainstays and strong contenders to make state, will not be available for this meet, according to coach Kretzer as injuries have cropped up during the preseason.
Here is a possible starting lineup for Thursday, subject to change due to some minor injuries:
106 — Austin Eldredge
113 — Andrew Trowbridge
120 — Undecided
126 — Gunnar Reiss
132 — Shaden Swaim
138 — Brice Kasting
145 — Luke Thompson
152 — Bailey Yarborough
160 — Caleb Giddings
170 — Undecided
182 — Kaleb Jost
195 — Ross Reiger
220 — Michael McKinney
285 — Ty Goss