McPherson High School sophomore Rhett Edmonson does not mind the target on his back that comes with making the state finals as a freshman -- it’s been there before he entered high school.

Edmonson finished second in the 106 weight class last season at state. There isn’t a wrestler in Class 4A who wouldn’t like a win over Edmonson to add to his or her resume.

But the only thing concerning Edmonson is winning a state championship.

“Most of the high level kids have seen each other even before high school, so [Rhett is] used to being ready for everyone’s best effort,” McPherson head coach Doug Kretzer said. “His goal is to increase his state placing by one this season.”

McPherson will not be a one-wrestler show. Seniors Bailey Yarborough and Brynton Crews and junior Scott Radke all have the ability to make some noise at the state tournament. All three wrestlers qualified for the state tournament last year, but only Yarborough at 182 brought home a state medal.

But nothing is guaranteed in high school wrestling, and as Kretzer notes, every season is a new year.

“Brynton, Scott, and Bailey will need to stay healthy,” Kretzer said. “They will need to continue to improve everyday in practice.”

Even beyond the team’s top four wrestlers, the Bullpups are a deep team, as evident by a 13-3 record in duals last season. The majority of last year’s roster is now a year older and stronger, and there is a large handful of wrestlers who could make the next step to qualifying for the state tournament.

Luke Thompson, EJ Kretzer, Mason Thrash, Landon Frantz, and Jonah Clarke are wrestlers that Kretzer is keen on. In total, 11 wrestlers with varsity experience return for the Bullpups.

“If we can get all the kids separated to fill our optimal lineup, we could be a handful as a dual team,” Kretzer said. “For us to climb the ladder at the state level, we’re going to need some kids to wrestle into the top six. They can do it, but they are going to have to be really committed to their approach over the next three month.”

The Bullpups open the season on Nov. 30 at Rose Hill.

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