ROSE HILL — The depth of the McPherson High School wrestling team was evident Thursday night in Rose Hill. The Bullpups, missing a few staters for the season opener, had experienced wrestlers step up, while younger guys competed hard en route to a 42-26 win over Rose Hill.

Despite the lopsided score, the dual was competitive from the beginning. Rose Hill was open in weight classes 195, 220, and 285, giving the Bullpups a comfortable winning margin in a contested match.

McPherson head coach Doug Kretzer was just excited to see his team compete outside the practice room for the first time this year.

“I thought we had a lot of energy tonight,” head coach Doug Kretzer said. “We’re hungry, we’re deep, and we’ve got a lot of guys to choose from.”

Junior Mya Kretzer set the tone for the Bullpups at 106, coming back from a 4-2 deficit to win by a 7-4 decision, putting the Bullpups up 3-0.

A loss at 113 by sophomore Landon Crews to the No. 4 ranked wrestler in 4A put the Bullpups in a 5-3 hole. Defending state finalist Rhett Edmonson quickly put the Bullpups back on top. The sophomore dominated and won by fall in the first period of his match at 120.

Junior EJ Kretzer extended the McPherson lead to 15-5, pinning his opponent at 126 in 40 seconds. Normally, the McPherson lineup would continue with another hammer in Brynton Crews, but the senior is still working on cutting weight at the moment. The Bullpups did not have a wrestler to fill 132 and gave away six free points as a result.

Freshman Devin Frantz, filling in for an injured Seth Morgan, competed well in his first high school match, but lost by a fall in the second period at 138. Rose Hill continued its run of 15 straight points at 145, as McPherson sophomore Jason Schowengerdt competed well, but lost a tight 12-10 decision; Schowengerdt was another Bullpup filling in for an injured wrestler.

When the Bullpups needed someone to stop the bleeding, junior Scott Radke was there to answer the call. Radke won a grueling 5-1 decision to bring the Bullpups within two.

Sophomore Landon Frantz wrestled hard at 160, going down early 0-5 but staying with it and only losing by a 5-2 decision. Sophomore Mason Thrash followed with a dominating win at 170, capped off by a pin in the third period.

After senior Luke Thompson, who was wrestling up a weight class, lost a 5-1 decision at 182, the Bullpups trailed 26-24. Rose Hill vacancies in the final three weight classes got the Bullpups the win, but it was a much closer dual than the score would indicate.

Once the Bullpups get healthier, they will become a more dominant team. But Rose Hill did expose some areas to work on in practice for the Bullpups.

“We got to get into our takedowns a little bit better,” Kretzer said. “In just about every match we lost, if we could have done a better job of getting out from under the bottom, the results would have been different.”

The varsity is at home for the first time next Thursday when they host Chapman and Smoky Valley for a double dual. The junior varsity hosts an invitational on Saturday as well.

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