What a week it’s going to be for McPherson High’s wrestling team.
The Bullpups have a crucial dual at El Dorado on Thursday, then follow up on Friday and Saturday by competing in the prestigious Newton Tournament of Champions, which is arguably the toughest tournament in Kansas each year.
El Dorado is ranked No. 5 in Class 4A, while the Bullpups are No. 8.
“El Dorado has some really high-level kids and some young ones,” MHS coach Doug Kretzer said. “This will be a tough dual for us. They are ranked in the Top 5 for a reason, with three boys in the Top 10 All Class. Our consistent lineup will be one of our advantages. Bonus points will be big Thursday, we’ve got to do our best not to give up falls against their hammers.”
MHS is 11-1 in dual matches, the only loss to Valley Center, which is ranked No. 4 in Class 5A and No. 10 for all classes.
At Newton, it’s a glittering 29-team field. Six of the teams are ranked in Kansas’ Top 10 for all classes, led by No. 2 Derby, No. 3 Arkansas City and No. 4. Maize. There are five teams ranked in Class 6A in the field, six 5A Top 10 teams, three from 4A (including No. 1 Arkansas City and No. 2 Andover Central) and one from 3A (No. 1-ranked Norton).
Two Bullpups currently are undefeated, Rhett Edmonson at 120 and Scott Radke at 152. If they can win this tournament, that would stamp them for sure as a state championship contender.
“We respect these kids and teams but don't fear them,” Kretzer said. “I would be very pleased with a Top 10 team finish at this tournament. Rhett and Scott will have their hands full at the TOC. Rhett's bracket has 5 of the Top 10 All-Class ranked wrestlers, Scott's bracket also has 5 of the Top 10 All-Class ranked wrestlers and he's not one of them. Both are up to the challenge. I can't wait for Thursday, then Friday and Saturday. This is when the season gets fun when you've got a tough team.”