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Parkston set to compete at The Clash in Rochester

Parkston's Blake Bietz (top) wrestles Howard's Bailey Neises (bottom) at the Class B state tournament last season in Aberdeen. (Luke Hagen/Republic)

PARKSTON — The Parkston Trojans wrestling team will once again make history as it hits the mat today in Rochester, Minn.

The 2013-14 wrestling squad is the first team in school history to compete at The Clash, one of the nation’s biggest wrestling tournaments.

“We are going to see some of the best teams in the nation,” Parkston head coach Jared Digmann said. “We want to wrestle that type of competition. I think that type of competition is what makes you better and I think we can compete with some of the top teams.”

The Trojans are coming off a 2012-13 wrestling season, which saw them claim the Class B state title in record fashion. Parkston set the scoring mark at the state tournament by racking up 164 points, beating the previous record of 157.

The Trojans also had 13 state qualifiers, including state champions Brady Reiff and Blake Bietz.

Reiff, a junior, and Bietz, a freshman, both returned to the Parkston lineup along with 10 other state qualifiers.

With its experienced lineup, the Parkston wrestling team’s success has continued this season. The Trojans have won every tournament and dual they have competed in so far.

Parkston’s résumé includes wins at the Creighton Invite in Creighton, Neb., Howard Invite, Elk Point-Jefferson Husky Invite and Floyd Farrand Invitational in Sioux Falls.

Things will be a little bit more challenging at The Clash and if the Trojans are to win it, they must go through teams from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska, Illinois, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Missouri, California and Alabama.

“This is the biggest tournament we have ever competed in,” Digmann said. “This is probably the best dual tournament in the nation. The whole reason we got in it is to challenge ourselves and find that tough competition.”

The Trojans’ first matchup is against Bettendorf High School (Iowa). According to, Bettendorf is the 32nd best wrestling team in the country at the high school level. Bettendorf also has the nation’s No. 2-ranked 138-pounder in Fredy Stroker.

If Parkston can knockoff Bettendorf, waiting for them in the next round could be Totino Grace (Minn.).

Former Mitchell High School wrestler Matt Everson is an assistant coach at Totino Grace, which is home to the nation’s top 195-pounder Lance Benick.

Parkston wrestled against Totino Grace last year at the Jerry Opbroek Invitational in Mitchell. In that tournament, the Trojans finished second to Pierre, being the only tournament Parkston didn’t win all season.

“I am extremely proud of Parkston,” said Everson, who wrestled at the University of Minnesota. “This is a great opportunity for them. I am really hoping for the chance to wrestle Parkston. “I think it will be a lot of fun to dual a South Dakota team.”

The Clash kicks off at 9 a.m. today and ends Saturday.