BUHLER — There is strength in numbers for the McPherson High School wrestling team this season.

The Bullpups brought a full squad to Buhler Thursday night in their Ark Valley Chisholm Trail Division III season opener. On the other side, Buhler had openings in six weight classes.

The result was a 57-18 win for the Bullpups, who improved to 10-1 in dual matches this season. McPherson head coach Doug Kretzer credits his team’s depth for its success in dual matches this season.

“We’ve got a nice blend of experience from 106 all the way to heavyweight,” Kretzer said. “In order to be a varsity wrestler at McPherson, you have to beat two, three, or four people just to be the No. 1. We’ve got two or three kids that are right on weight, we’ve got two or three kids that had to sacrifice some weight, and we’ve got two or three kids that are a little light for a weight. But we do have our best 14 wrestlers on varsity, so that’s important.”

McPherson led 18-0 before either team hit the mat, as Buhler was open in the first three weight classes. When the Crusaders did have a spot filled, they led with their best wrestler — third-ranked Adam Whitson at 126. The junior defeated McPherson’s EJ Kretzer by fall in the second period to put Buhler on the board.

Buhler won the next match at 132, as McPherson’s Seth Morgan took Buhler’s Nick Elliott the distance, with Elliott coming out on top, 6-1.

The Bullpups responded with pins in the next two matches — one from Brynton Crews at 138 and the other from Jonah Clarke at 145. Buhler was open at 152, extending the McPherson lead to 36-9.

McPherson would receive wins from Mason Thrash at 182 and Kourtney Craig at 220 before the match was over.

According to Kretzer, Buhler’s openings were not only beneficial for the varsity, but the junior varsity team as well.

“Coming off our week last week, when we wrestled nine times in three days, maybe it wasn’t the worst thing for us to come out of a match without getting beat up,” Kretzer said. “Buhler had some open weights that they could have filled with kids that wrestled in junior varsity. I was really pleased that they had some potential varsity wrestlers wrestling our JV kids, and our JV kids really wrestled well tonight.”

The Bullpups are finished with dual matches until Jan. 4 when they host Circle for Senior Night. The Bullpups wrap up a busy December on Saturday at the Abilene Invitational, hosted by the defending state champions.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at gmartin@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel