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Region meet to set up title defense for Parkston

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After a dominant regular season, the Parkston Trojan wrestling team will begin the defense of its Class B state title at the Region 3B tournament Saturday in Miller, with a number of other area wrestlers looking to get through to the state tournament as well.

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Nine state medalists are seeking a return to the state podium for the Trojans and Parkston coach Jared Digmann sees the importance of the regional meet for setting his team up for another run.

“The state tournament starts this weekend,” Digmann said. “It may be called regionals, but this weekend will play a big role in who we wrestle and when at state.”

The top four wrestlers in each weight class will go through to the Class B state tournament, which starts Feb. 28 in Aberdeen, but two Region 3B wrestlers won’t meet until the quarterfinals at state.

“It can help to have a tough region as long as you get out of it,” Digmann said. “I think our region is definitely one of the tougher ones in the state.”

After taking 12 wrestlers to the state meet last season, Digmann said the goal is to get all 14 of his weight classes qualified.

Brady Reiff (225) is 37-3 on the year, and Blake Bietz (132) is 38-3. They are just a pair of Parkston’s top wrestlers looking to set themselves up for state with a strong showing Saturday.

Individual regional champions draw a first-round match with a fourth-place finisher from another region at the state tournament, while a runner up at the region will wrestle a third-place qualifier.

Nine area schools will compete at the the Region 3B tournament, including Bon Homme/Scotland, which could have five to nine wrestlers qualify for the state tournament, according to coach Mark Stoebner. BH/S is anchored by undefeated Dan Stibral at 285 pounds. Stibral is 34-0 this season.

“It is tough to go undefeated at any weight class,” Stoebner said about Stibral, who finished third at the the Class B state tournament last year. “I like to think we have had a pretty tough schedule. Dan has wrestled some close matches and been lucky enough to win them all.”

Wagner returns two state finalists this year in senior David Kocer and junior Trevor Lensing. Red Raider coach Brady Nolz expects them to be right back at that level this season. Kocer won the Class B state title at 160 pounds last year, while Lensing was runner up at 170 pounds.

“This is one of the top two regions in the state,” Nolz said. “It is going to be a dogfight for those third and fourth spots.”

Other area schools set to compete at the Region 3B include Andes Central, Burke/Gregory, Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica, Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes, Winner and Wessington Springs/Woonsocket. The meet is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. in Miller.

Howard’s Loudenburg seeks repeat

The Howard wrestling team will compete at the Region 2B tournament Saturday in Freeman, and junior Luke Loudenburg looks to set himself up for another state title after winning last year at 120 pounds.

Loudenburg is 45-1 this season at 138 pounds and leads a group of Tigers looking for a spot at the state tournament. Bailey Neises (126) -- 19-0 this season --and Tanner Henkel (160) -- 29-6 -- are among the top wrestlers for Howard, each picking up a win at the team’s final tuneup before the regional Feb. 15 in Howard.

McCook/Central Montrose and Marion/Freeman will also compete at the Region 2B tournament, which begins at 10 a.m.

Kernels gaining momentum

Last year, the Mitchell wrestling team took six Kernels to the Class A meet, but the team is looking for much higher number of qualifiers this time around.

Mitchell will look to secure as many as 11 qualifiers for state when it competes at the Region 3A tournament at 11 a.m. Saturday in Chamberlain.

“I would say that all 11 have a chance to get in,” Carpenter said. “It’s extremely important that we place as high as we can with everybody who qualifies, so we set ourselves up for the state meet.”

The Kernels have wrestled all season with open weight classes, but Carpenter sees that as more of a hinderance for duals and should not impact Mitchell’s performance at the regional.

“In this situation, we are going to put our 11 kids on the mat and it is important that they place as high as they can,” Carpenter said, adding his team has improved as the season has progressed.

“We look to carry our momentum into this meet and then into state.”

Host Chamberlain will also compete at the Region 2A tournament.

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