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Bietz, Loudenburg meet in marquee semifinal

Howard’s Luke Loudenburg attempts to escape against Custer’s Chasen Cole in the quarterfinal round of the Class B state tournament Friday at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

ABERDEEN — Prior to the start of the quarterfinal round, Parkston coach Jared Digmann noted the tough road for the Trojans’ 132-pound wrestler Blake Bietz at the Class B state tournament.

The freshman had to go through the third-best wrestler in his second match of the day Friday, knowing that a win could set up set up a semifinal clash with the top 132-pounder in Class B.

“The success of this team the last few years has given us a lot of confidence in big matches,” Bietz said.

Parkston is looking to defend its Class B state title after setting a team-scoring record last year.

Bietz took on and defeated Nathan Jones, of Britton-Hecla, 7-2 in his quarterfinal matchup Friday at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen. He moves on to wrestle Howard’s Luke Loudenburg in the semifinals.

Both Bietz and Loudenburg won state titles last year, and by meeting in the semifinals today, one will be left without a chance at another state championship.

Loudenburg, the top-ranked Class B 132-pound wrestler, took care of his first two state tournament matches with pins over Wyatt Burke, of Clark/Willow Lake, and Chasen Cole, of Custer.

“I can’t be over-excited against Luke and I will need to go into it like it’s any other match,” Bietz said. “You can’t do anything sloppy against him. You have to take shots that you know you will get.”

Loudenburg holds two victories earlier this season over Bietz, topping his counterpart by one- and four-point decisions.

“It’s going to be a great match and whoever shows up to wrestle is going to win,” Loudenburg said about his matchup with Bietz. “Blake is really strong and he stays in position. He goes and goes the whole match, so I can’t take a break at all against him.”

Bietz is 44-3 this season, while Loudenburg is 39-1 and is coming off his second straight Class B state title, winning at 120 pounds in 2013.

Loudenburg, who is also a football standout for the Tigers, noted that while he loves wrestling, he likes rushing for touchdowns more than pinning his opponents. He has shifted from 138 pounds earlier this season and said 132 is completely different.

“It has been great this season not worrying about cutting as much weight, but I would get tired toward the end of some matches at 138 earlier this year,” Loudenburg said.

The semifinal round of the Class B state tournament starts at 10 a.m. today in Aberdeen.