The winter sports kicked off on Thursday night when the McPherson High School wrestling team faced El Dorado High School in a dual match in the Auxiliary gym. The Bullpups put on a dominating performance against the Wildcats with the final score of 58-14.

"We were a little rusty, but we wrestled with physicality. We were aggressive.We were the ones that kind of stalking them. That was some of the intangibles you're looking for," head coach Doug Kretzer said.

E.J. Kretzer set the tone for the Bullpups in the 120-pound match, when he defeated El Dorado's William Gomez by decision, 8-1.

The Bullpups was already ahead of the Wildcats, 30-0 with four automatic wins by Landon Vogtz, Rhett Edmonson, Mason Thrash, and Lorenzo Cruzen. Kretzer wanted to see all four of them in action, but it has to wait for another day.

"We have a handful of kids that really sacrificed to get to the weights they needed to get at, and we wanted (Rhett) Edmonson in there and (Mason) Thrash in there, but a kid like Landon Vogtz has been chomping it at the bit for this meet, I would've love to give him a match. Lorenzo Cruzen, I wanted him on the mat too," Kretzer said.

Scott Radke put on a show in his weight class with the 18-6 victory over Kai Wernli. The 160-pound senior was just shy of pinning down Wernli to give the Bullpups six more points, and even the packed crowd at the gym were feeding that same energy. However, he had to settled for the major decision, but it was the highlight of the night for McPherson.

"He's very technical, explosive and usually it's a cat-and-mouse game out there because he's putting his opponents in the position that he wants him," Kretzer said. "He's thinking what move am I working, but three, four, five moves ahead of the time."

Collin Pearson took a 3-0 win by decision. Also, Landon Crews, Jonah Clarke, Landon Frantz and Jonah Scott each won by fall, giving the Bullpups 27 total points.

What impressed Kretzer the most was how conditioned his grapplers were. It was as if they were never out of breath. For Kretzer, that's the system he wanted for his Bullpups.

"We needed to get on the mat, and we got to clean some stuff up," Kretzer said. "I was really impressed with our gas tank, which has a lot to do with our mentality than what our gas tank really was. Having these guys at home really helped."

With one match in the record books, Kretzer now focuses on his girl wrestlers as they host the McPherson Invitational on Saturday. Other High Schools that will be in attendants are Buhler, Burlingame, Canton-Galva, Central Heights, Clearwater, Douglass, Eisenhower, Eureka, Fredonia, Hutchinson, Junction City, Osawatomie, Riverbend International, Rose Hill and Trego Community. The Invitational will begin at 9 a.m. at the Roundhouse.

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