Alex Grennan finished what Austin Eldredge started.
After the McPherson High School wrestling team fell behind 16-12 early in Thursday’s dual against No. 2 ranked El Dorado, Eldredge stopped the bleeding with a pin to give the Bullpups the lead again. It was a lead the Bullpups would not relinquish, as McPherson reeled off five straight wins in the heart of the order to pull away from the Wildcats. Grennan secured the victory with a pin at 220, giving the Bullpups a 43-32 win over the second-ranked Wildcats.
The Bullpups are now 4-0 in the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail Division III standings with two league matches still to come later in the year.
“It never ceases to amaze me how tough our team is mentally,” McPherson High head coach Doug Kretzer said. “I’ve said it time and time again; the battles these kids have to go through just to be a varsity level wrestler pays dividends for us when we step out on the mat. We’re not afraid of anybody.”
Although it won’t show up in the win column, Kretzer praised the toughness of EJ Kretzer and Alex Perkins. Both wrestlers lost lopsided matches to ranked opponents, but neither Bullpup surrendered a pin, keeping points off the board for El Dorado.
The Bullpups are currently unranked but that should be subject to change when the next rankings come out. The Bullpups were in control of the dual for the majority of the night despite only winning 6 of the 11 head-to-head matches.
El Dorado was open at 106 and 113 giving the Bullpups an early 12-0 lead. EJ Kretzer dropped a gritty match to No. 4 ranked Payton Sadowski — the first of three straight El Dorado wins — and the Wildcats were momentarily on top.
It truly was only momentarily, however, as Eldredge came up with a huge pin at 138 to put the Bullpups back on top. Scott Radke, Ben Hopkins, Mason Thrash and Luke Thompson all followed with wins, pins by Radke and Thrash, as the Bullpups took a game-high 37-16 lead before El Dorado struck back.
El Dorado won back-to-back matches thanks to dominant performances from No. 1 ranked wrestler Dacota Motter (170) and No. 5 ranked wrestler Braden Morgan (182).
But Grennan laid any talks of a comeback to rest the following match with a pin, clinching the upset for the Bullpups.
“We got hot right where we needed to,” Kretzer said. “It’s a fun time to be a McPherson High School wrestler, it’s a fun time to be a McPherson High School wrestling fan and it’s a fun time to be a McPherson High School wrestling coach.”
Unfortunately, the Bullpups can only bask in the moment for 24 hours as Friday the team heads to Newton for the always daunting Tournament of Champions. Kretzer wants to see some of his upperclassman compete with the best in the state, while the younger wrestlers can use this as a learning experience.
“We’ve got some wrestlers that can go there and be competitive; other wrestlers it’s going to be more of the same like tonight, where they just have to wrestle tough and do their best.”
Contact Gallagher Martin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel.