Boehmer ready to lead Trojans to hopeful three-peat
PARKSTON -- James Boehmer recalled being a part of the 2004 state champion Parkston wrestling team, saying it is one of his best memories of growing up as a Trojan.
Flash forward 10 years, and the 2006 Parkston High School graduate is on the other side of the mat. Boehmer, 26, was recently named the school's head wrestling coach, succeeding Jared Digmann, who coached the Trojans to back-to-back state titles in 2013 and 2014.
Boehmer knows he has pressure coming in as the new coach and is trying to help Parkston become the third Class B team and fifth team in South Dakota history to win three consecutive state championships.
"There's always pressure there, but the pressure makes you work harder," Boehmer said. "I want them to do their very best. If doing their very best comes a state championship, that's the prize at the end. If we don't quite get there, there's a lesson to be learned from those mistakes. That happens too."
The last team to win three consecutive wrestling titles was Wagner, which claimed the Class B crown in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The other Class B team to accomplish the feat is Faulkton in 1971, '72 and '73. Class A teams that have won three consecutive titles are Mitchell (1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998) and Sturgis (2005, 2006 and 2007).
Boehmer, who was a volunteer assistant coach for the 2013 Parkston team, said this year's group of wrestlers is very capable of keeping the streak going.
"They want to win," he said. "They're just good kids and are very coachable. I want to keep this program at the top."
Boehmer takes over a program that made state history two years ago, setting the state tournament points total record with 164 points. In 2014, the Trojans had 12 state placers -- including one state champion -- and finished with 158 points, six points shy of their record.
This year's team returns nine state placers and another qualifier and loses three to graduation.
Boehmer said he's interested in helping the athletes become good people, not just wrestlers.
"I want to instill good values in these kids and help grow them as men," he said. "I want to see them achieve their goals on the mat and in the classroom. A lot of them are getting ready to go to college and I want to see them use the wrestling work ethic to succeed in the real world."
After graduating in 2006 from Parkston, Boehmer went to college at the University of Sioux Falls, where he graduated in 2011 with an elementary education degree.
"It's a dream job coming back and being head wrestling coach for Parkston," Boehmer said. "Parkston has always been a huge part of me."
Boehmer added that his assistants are Ryan Meyer and John Gilman.