It was a record-breaking wrestling season for McPherson High sophomore Austin Eldredge.
While he didn’t reach his ultimate goal of a state championship in the Class 4A State Tournament this past weekend at the Bicentennial Center, he’s well on his way to joining some of the greats in Bullpup history.
Eldredge lost a tough match to Basehor-Linwood’s Cody Phippen in Friday’s semifinals, but overcame that disappointment to outlast two tough customers on Saturday to take third place.
“His match in the semis was really tight and it could have went the other way,” MHS coach Doug Kretzer said. “He showed a lot of guts by coming back and winning two really tough matches to take third place.”
The final tally for Eldredge was a 39-2 record, which was a school record for number of wins in a season. He also broke the MHS record for near falls (110) and technical falls (15). In just two years, he has 68 wins and the future is limitless. Knowing how close he came to being a state champion will no doubt fuel him to be even better next season.
“Austin had a tremendous season, 39 wins is incredible,” Kretzer said.
Eldredge’s only other loss this season was an 8-7 decision to Ryan Johnson of Norton, a match he had led 8-7. Johnson was the Class 3-2-1A state runner-up on Saturday.
Eldredge will be the pinwheel for next year’s MHS team, which was 3-2 in AVCTL Division III. He’ll be joined as a team leader by 182-pound state qualifier Kaleb Jost.
“I'm already excited about next year,” Kretzer said. “I think we will really have a tough team that can compete for the league title and make some noise at the state tournament. We have everyone back except Ross Regier and Michael McKinney. Those are two great senior leaders and we will miss them for sure, but I expect good things from the team in the future.”
The Bullpups will be especially strong down low as they have a number of wrestlers in the smaller weights with bright futures. Regier and McKinney, however, are both upper-weight wrestlers and a No. 1 priority will be finding their replacements.