Parkston claims Class B wrestling title, sets scoring recordABERDEEN – Parkston High School set an all-time points record at the Class B state wrestling tournament Saturday to claim its first state championship since 2007.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
ABERDEEN — Parkston stopped thinking about a state title and started craving a state record.
In dominant fashion, Parkston claimed the Class B state wrestling title Saturday and set an all-time scoring mark in the process.
Serious talk about the record sparked during a break before the final placing rounds. While on the bus back to the hotel after Saturday morning’s semifinals session, the Trojans pledged their path toward history.
“Me and a couple other wrestlers were talking about our point total, and someone wondered how close that was to the state record,” Parkston senior Myles Bialas said. “I knew in the back of my mind that 157 was the magic number.”
Set in 1981 by Redfield, the all-time Class B state wrestling scoring mark was 157 points over the two-day tournament. The Trojans had three wrestlers qualified for individual titles headed into the championship round and needed six points to break the record.
With a nearside cradle in the third period of the 113-pound state championship match, eighth-grader Blake Bietz pinned Bon Homme’s Alex Caba to give his team six points and the record.
It took a few moments, but the announcer took the intercom and explained the Trojans’ achievement. An astounded Barnett Center roared, and the Parkston crowd gave the loudest, longest ovation.
Parkston finished the tournament with two individual champions, 10 wrestlers place in the top seven and racked up 164 points. Philip was well behind in second with 115 points.
“There’s a reason the score looks like that,” Parkston coach Jared Digmann said. “Our kids kept fighting and didn’t give up or get content.”
Brady Reiff pinned his fourth opponent of the tournament in the 220-pound state championship match, getting his final fall in 59 seconds and earning Parkston its final six points. He spent the most time on the mat in his championship match, with his other falls coming in 32, 37 and 22 seconds to total 2 minutes, 30 seconds of wrestling in two days.
His favorite pin of the weekend?
“This one definitely,” Reiff said after the championship pin, his first headlock. “It was the finals match. The crowd was huge, the place was louder and it feels great.”
In the last 10 years, the scoring mark has only been pushed twice, with Wagner’s 150.5 points in 2008 and Webster’s 156 points in 2005.
But with 12 qualifiers at state and every wrestler contributing at least one win for the team, Parkston was able to overtake Redfield’s longstanding mark. It was one goal at a time, Bialas said, with the state title first.
“But that wasn’t good enough,” said Digmann, who’s never been a part of a state championship before Saturday’s. “The kids were like, ‘We want that record. It’s in reach and we want it.’ ”
The Trojans led Philip by 15 points after the first day and sent four to the semifinals Saturday morning. Bietz, Reiff and Weslee Dvorak (145) each moved to the championship round, while Mitch Heisinger (152) lost 9-3 to eventual-champion Zach Schuman, of Tri-Valley. Heisinger came back to take third, while Dvorak was pinned in the championship to finish runner-up.
Bialas and Andrew Semmler (195) each took fourth, Austin Bertram (285) and Austin Ripp (132) finished in sixth and Logan Mahoney (106) and Dawson Semmler (120) took seventh for the Trojans, who also got first-day victories from Ethan Murtha (126) and Miles Semmler (170).
“Coach said it didn’t matter what place we were wrestling for, he wanted us to do our best to get some points for the team,” said Bietz, who set the school’s record for most wins in a season with a 47-3 record. “He wanted us to finish tough.”
The state title ends a remarkable season for Parkston, which won all but one tournament and every dual it wrestled. The only time the Trojans didn’t win a tournament was in mid-January, when Pierre took first and Parkston was second at the Jerry Opbroek Invitational in Mitchell. This weekend, Pierre defended its Class A title by 24.5 points.
Before taking the award stand, Digmann reflected on the strong season his team had and repeatedly stressed his pride for all his wrestlers.
“There’s so much talent on this team,” Digmann said. “ ... We had a good state tournament. It was exciting.”