Parkston's Brady Reiff named Daily Republic's wrestler of the yearPARKSTON — Brady Reiff is small for his weight class, but big for his age.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
PARKSTON — Brady Reiff is small for his weight class, but big for his age.
At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, the Parkston High School sophomore wrestler dominated in a weight class that’s normally ruled by juniors and seniors.
“The kid grows what seems to be two inches every month,” Parkston coach Jared Digmann said. “And he barely weighs in at 200 pounds. He doesn’t want to go down to 195 and I don’t blame him. He obviously does just fine at 220.”
Despite his youth, Reiff looked like a veteran in just his third year of varsity wrestling. Reiff went undefeated and captured the 220-pound Class B state championship. He won 32 of his 44 matches by pin this season and pinned all four of his state tournament opponents in less than 1 minute.
For his stellar season, Reiff has been named The Daily Republic’s wrestler of the year. Reiff took the award by unanimous decision, claiming all three first-place votes in a system that awards five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second place vote, three for a third, two for a fourth and one for a fifth.
All six wrestlers who received votes were state champions. Bon Homme’s Duncan Stoebner, who came in second place in the voting, went undefeated, won the 106-pound title and received 10 points. Howard’s Luke Loudenburg was third with nine points. Wagner’s David Kocer was fourth with six points, Parkston’s Blake Bietz was fifth with three points and Wagner’s Tyler Dion earned two points.
But it was the amount of pins Reiff piled up and his success in the upper weight class that set him apart from the group. Reiff also played a large role in helping Parkston’s team set an overall points record at state this year, claiming the team title.
After winning his first state title as a sophomore, Reiff now has a chance to three-peat by the time he graduates.
“It’s not going to be easy, I know that,” Reiff said. “You’ve got to keep getting better, because people will catch up with you.”
Reiff knows he has a great opportunity to get better each day when he walks into the practice room.
Besides his teammate practice partners, Reiff credits another workout partner, assistant coach Ryan Meyer, for some of his success this year.
Meyer is a Parkston native who won two state high school championships and was a five-time state place-winner. He went on to wrestle for South Dakota State University, where he became the school’s first athlete to qualify for a Division I championship event.
During live wrestling in practice, Meyer is happy to go up against Reiff and help improve his skills each day.
“He keeps me going every day,” Meyer said. “Being a sophomore, he’s still good enough to give me a go. He’s going to be pretty good in two years.
“I can still take him right now. In a couple years that might be a different story. After you’ve been in college, that gives you a little bit of an upper hand.”
Meyer has been wrestling with Reiff since he joined Parkston’s coaching staff as a volunteer three years ago.
The main thing Meyer has been working with Reiff on is being more aggressive. That showed in the state championship match in February, when Reiff took down Clark/Willow Lake senior Logan Tonan and put him straight to his back in the match’s opening seconds.
“It definitely helps me every day in practice,” Reiff said of Meyer. “I learn something new every day just wrestling around with him. He’s a great teacher.”
The last time Trojans head coach Jared Digmann live-wrestled with Reiff on a regular basis was three years ago. Digmann, who weighs about 150 pounds, said Reiff has vaulted past him in size.
Last year, Reiff wrestled at 182 pounds, compiled a 35-7 record and took fourth place at state. Digmann said Reiff gained about 30 pounds in the offseason from lifting weights and working out.
“He’s going to keep getting stronger and probably put on another 20 pounds,” Meyer said. “He’s going to keep lifting weights and it’s going to be interesting to see what he comes back like next year.”
Reiff’s 32 pins this year ranks second in school single-season history behind fellow sophomore Austin Bertram’s 34. Reiff, who earned most of his pins by cradle, also had seven forfeit victories and only five of his matches were decided by points with time running out.
The two closest matches he won were against Pierre’s Lane Lettau, an 8-6 overtime win at the Mitchell Invitational, and Dakota Valley’s Taylor Lambert, who claimed the 220-pound Class A championship this season. Reiff beat Lamberg 5-4 at the Huskies Invitational in Elk Point on Dec. 15.
Reiff, who now has 106 career varsity wins, joined both of his older brothers, Eric and Riley, as state wrestling champions. Riley won three state championships and Eric was a one-time state champion. Riley, a two-time Daily Republic wrestler of the year, is now an offensive lineman for the NFL’s Detroit Lions.
“People are going to be gunning for him now,” Digmann said. “No one is going to look past him and other teams are going to know who he is.”
Here’s a look at the other wrestlers who received points in the voting:
- Duncan Stoeber won the 106-pound Class B title this year for Bon Homme, claiming his first state championship. The sophomore went 41-0 and defeated Hot Springs’ Brice Harkless 3-2 in the championship match. Stoebner garnered 10 points in the voting.
- Howard’s Luke Loudenburg won his second state championship this year, going 49-1 and winning the 120-pound Class B title. Loudenburg, who received nine points, is a sophomore and has a chance to win four titles by the end of his high school career.
- Wagner’s David Kocer became the third one of his brothers to earn a state wrestling championship. The junior, who earned six points, won the Class B 160-pound title and went 36-1 on the season.
- Parkston eighth-grader Blake Bietz won the 113-pound Class B state championship. Bietz got three points in the voting and went 47-3 on the year.
- Wagner senior Tyler Dion earned two points in the voting and won the 138-pound title. Dion finished his senior season 37-2.