PARK CITY— It's a perfect way, for a complete ending.
Scott Radke took home gold in the Class 5A State Wrestling Championship for the McPherson High School wrestling team. He got his rematch against Trevor Dopps of Goddard High School, defeating him, 3-1. Mission accomplished.
It was a four-year plan Radke set for himself from the moment he suited up in the Bullpup wrestling gear. Four years later at 40-2, Radke finishes his high school career breaking the takedown record, single-season record and being the third straight Bullpup to win a state championship.
“Best feeling you ever feel,” Radke said. “There’s something about winning the state championship that is every high school wrestler’s dream. I finally achieved that. It’s the goal I set after my freshman year when I wasn’t very good, and people just laughed at me. Now I can say I’m officially a state champ.”
As predicted, Radke and Dopps would meet up again at the state finals after both faced each other at regionals the week before. Radke came up short, losing to Dopps in the ultimate tiebreaker.
“Last week I was just really tight, and I wasn’t wrestling my match,” Radke said.
As both Radke and Dopps squared up on the mat, it was like a chess match in the beginning, figuring out which move would be the best move. Radke was on the board first with an escape, but Dopps tied it up at one apiece right after. When everybody expected for them to go an extra period, Radke, at the last second, came across a takedown that would earn him two more points and capturing the victory in a clutched performance.
“That match was a war,” Bullpups' Head Coach Doug Kretzer said afterwards. “He had to dig deep and broke Travis Stites’ takedown record. He broke Tyler Davis’ single-season record, he broke Travis Stites’ career takedown record. I think it took every one of those takedowns to dig deep and get that last takedown to get the state title. I’m proud of him.”
Radke joins Austin Eldridge and Rhett Edmonson as state champions in three years. Radke would also guarantee a spot in the McPherson High School Wall of Fame. With plenty of wrestlers returning for next season, Kretzer will take this as another learning curve for his next group who got what it takes to make it back to State.
“There’s a different vibe in the (practice) room when you’ve got somebody practicing to win the state title,” Kretzer said. “You’ve got 40 other kids in the room that can look over there at every rep and see what it takes to get it done. I think Scott has reaped the rewards of the Austin Eldredges and vice versa. Just looking forward already to next year to see who has learned the lessons of the last two.”
Overall, being that Class 5A has the full depth of wrestling talents, McPherson still managed to finish eighth with 80 points after not cracking the top 10 early on, and one-point ahead of their class rival Newton High School. Three more Bullpups also finished strong and got to stand in the podium. Landon Frantz, who bounced back after losing to another state finalist Kyle Haas of Maize High School, took third at 182. Mason Thrash finished fourth at 195, and Landon Crews finished sixth at 125. Jonah Clarke, Alex Perkins and Kourtney Craig also qualified for State but didn't make it past the medal round.
Goddard ended up finishing first overall with 225 points. Arkansas City High School was placed second with 151 points. Blue Valley Southwest High School took third with 125.
“This is a loaded class,” Kretzer said. “5A is no joke. There’s real good teams sitting outside of the top 10. I’m very proud of our effort today. We had a bunch of kids come through the back door. The Landon Crewses and Mason Thrash... Landon Frantz, I honestly believe he’s the second-best wrestler in the state tournament. He just can’t get on the other side of the bracket from Kyle Haas. Up and down the line everybody, had a lot of heart, guts and we’ve got it going in the right direction in McPherson. I don’t see anything changing anytime soon.”
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports