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Parkston set to defend Class B title

The youthful Parkston wrestling team that won the Class B state title a year ago is now an experienced juggernaut looking to stay on top.

Thirteen Trojans, along with several other area wrestlers, will compete in the Class B state tournament, starting with the first round at 10 a.m. today at the Barnett Center on the campus of Northern State University in Aberdeen.

“We have wrestled in some pretty tough tournaments, some maybe tougher than this weekend,” Parkston coach Jared Digmann said. “We are an older team and that’s the first time I have been able to say that in the last few years. That experience should help us do well.”

Parkston returns as the favorite in the Class B tournament after setting a scoring record of 164 points last season. Only one senior graduated from the record-setting team of 2012-13, and this year, the Trojans have shown the road to the state title goes through them, including a dominating performance last weekend at the Region 3B tournament.

At Miller Saturday, Parkston placed 13 out of 14 wrestlers in the top four of their respective weight classes, setting the Trojans up for another run at a state title.

“The first goal is, of course, to win the team title,” Digmann said. “But the kids have had other goals as well and would like to beat what they did last year.”

Six Trojans — Dawson Semmler (126), Blake Bietz (132), Wes Dvorak (152), Mitch Heisinger (182), Andrew Semmler (195) and Brady Reiff (220) — each took first at the regional tournament and go into the state competition with a first-round matchup with a fourth-place finisher from another region.

A second straight title for Parkston would be the first time the school has won the bracket-style state championship in back-to-back years. The Trojans did win consecutive state titles in the dual format in 2003-04 and has won three Class B team titles (2004, 2007, 2013) since the bracket-style format started in 1971.

“Realistically, we have a chance to place all 13 wrestlers, but everyone is 0-0 now,” Digmann said. “Records up until this point don’t matter. You have to be ready to go in the first round.”

Digmann added Canton, Phillip and Bon Homme/Scotland are among the teams that could challenge the Trojans this weekend.

Past champions looking for more in Aberdeen

Six area wrestlers return to the state tournament after winning an individual title last season, including Bietz and Reiff, of Parkston. Bietz, a freshman, looks for a 132-pound title after taking the 113-pound Class B championship as an eighth grader. Reiff, a junior, is looking for a second-straight 225-pound title after picking up four straight pins en route to the championship last year.

Duncan Stoebner, of Bon Homme/Scotland, won the Region 3B title at 113 pounds and will be looking to add a first-place finish at 113 to go with his 106-pound championship from last season.

Howard’s Luke Loudenburg and Wagner’s David Kocer also return to the Class B tournament looking to add to individual titles from last season. Loudenburg is seeking his third-consecutive state title.

Area teams competing at the tournament include Parkston, Winner, Wagner, Bon Homme/Scotland, McCook Central/Montrose, Marion/Freeman, Burke/Gregory, Howard, Andes Central, Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica and Kimball/White Lake/Corsica.