Trojan wrestling team deep, looking to repeat as champs
PARKSTON — After winning its first state championship since 2007 last season, the Parkston wrestling team has gone from the hunter to the hunted.
Teams across the state will be lining up to knock off the Trojans, who claimed the Class B title in record fashion in 2013.
“Nothing is guaranteed, we have to be ready to go every time,” Parkston head wrestling coach Jared Digmann said. “We have a chance to do a lot of good things but it will depend on how we work in this wrestling room.”
For Digmann, finding talent to fill the Parkston roster hasn’t been hard. He said his team’s talent pool may force some state qualifiers out of the varsity lineup.
Digmann, who didn’t have a set lineup, said his Trojans’ tentative lineup is Austin Bertram (285), Brady Reiff (220), Andrew Semmler (195), Mitch Heisinger or Miles Semmler (182), Dillon Stadlman (170), Wes Dvorak (160), Aaron Weber (152), Austin Ripp (145), Jake Weber (138), Blake Bietz (132), Dawson Semmler or Luke Bietz (126), Kyler Holzbauer (120), Rocky Berg (113) and Logan Mahoney (106).
The final lineup will be determined by wrestle offs, which the Trojans are conducting this week.
“I have returning state placers who are going into a best two out of three, trying to find a varsity spot,” Digmann said. “There is no guarantee that you can have a starting varsity spot. We are just going to have some state qualifiers on JV, and that is just the way it is going to work.”
With a team mainly comprised of juniors, sophomores and freshmen last season, Parkston set the scoring mark at the Class B state tournament by racking up 164 points. The previous record was 157, which was set in 1981 by Redfield.
The Trojans return all but one wrestler from last year’s varsity lineup. Parkston’s lone graduate was state-placer Myles Bialas, who took fourth place at 138.
Despite the loss of Bialas, the Trojans return 13 state qualifiers, including state champions junior Reiff and freshman Blake Bietz and seven others who placed at state.
The Trojans also finished the season 11-0 in duals and won all but one tournament they competed in last season. This year, Parkston is scheduled to compete outside South Dakota twice, including its season opener Saturday, when it participates in the Creighton tournament in Creighton, Neb. Parkston won the Creighton tournament last season.
The Trojans are also scheduled to compete at a tournament in Rochester, Minn., on Jan 4.
Reiff was named The Daily Republic wrestler of the year last season after he finished the season 44-0 and claimed the 220-pound title. Thirty-two of Reiff’s wins came by pin and the junior wrestler admitted there is pressure to perform and keep up the tradition.
“We have a lot of good wrestlers who have a lot of good potential,” Reiff said. “We have a lot of athletic kids, and I think that is partly why we are successful. We also work real hard in the wrestling room and wrestle tough opponents every day.”
Parkston’s other state champion was Bietz, who won the 113-pound title after going 47-3 as an eighth grader. This year, Bietz has jumped up three weight classes and will wrestle at 132 pounds.
“It’s a lot of weight. I had to keep lifting over the summer to be able to compete at that level,” Bietz said. “The guys are probably going to be a bit bigger than I am and that is going to be a little bit of a disadvantage, but that is why I have been wrestling bigger kids in practice.”