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Four-peat on Parkston's mind heading into 2015-16 season

PARKSTON--The Parkston High School wrestling team knows the target on its back grows larger every year. In 2014-15, the Trojans continued their domination of Class B wrestling, winning their third consecutive state championship. The expectations ...

Parkston's Blake Bietz, left, stares down Howard's Bailey Neises, right, during the pair's Class B 145-pound state wrestling state championship last February in Rapid City. (Garrick Hodge/Republic)
Parkston's Blake Bietz, left, stares down Howard's Bailey Neises, right, during the pair's Class B 145-pound state wrestling state championship last February in Rapid City. (Garrick Hodge/Republic)

PARKSTON-The Parkston High School wrestling team knows the target on its back grows larger every year.

In 2014-15, the Trojans continued their domination of Class B wrestling, winning their third consecutive state championship.

The expectations are nothing less for Parkston this year, with the Trojans setting their eyes on a four-peat.

"Anybody that's not Parkston, we look to beat," Parkston head coach James Boehmer said. "We look out for our own. We respect you and we appreciate you being a South Dakota wrestler, but if you don't have Parkston across your chest, you're looking to stop us from our goal and all our hard work we put in that room. Wrestling is too grueling of a sport to put in the work you do only to have someone throw you off track. We're looking to perform our best this season."

The Trojans will be led by junior Blake Bietz-who won the state championship in the 145-pound weight class last season-as he hopes for his second straight individual state championship.

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"It's definitely my top goal," Bietz said. "Every day you learn something new in practice, but you can always use that experience you earned last year to guide you. This year, it's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication."

Boehmer said Bietz might be one of the most competitive wrestlers he has, which leads to a boatload of wins for him on the mat.

"Blake works hard at everything," Boehmer said. "He doesn't like to lose a sprint, heck, he doesn't like to even lose a game of tic-tac-toe. ... He's on track to being one of the most decorated and successful wrestlers at Parkston. We hold a strong tradition at Parkston, so to put your name down as one of the best Parkston wrestlers ever, I think that's enough motivation to keep yourself going."

But Parkston won't have the numbers it did last year, as the Trojans are down to 20 wrestlers compared to the 26 wrestlers on the roster last season. What's more, the Trojans only have two seventh-graders, two eighth-graders and two freshmen out for wrestling this season.

"We've been fortunate here the last six to 10 years to have really good numbers," Boehmer said. "It's a small town and every small town goes through it. You have to really appreciate it when you do have the numbers and you have to work at it when the numbers aren't there."

While the Trojans lack depth, they do boast a plethora of talented middleweight wrestlers.

Austin Ripp (170), Kyler Holzbauer (145), Logan Mahoney (126), Dawson Semmler (152), Luke Bietz (160) and Blake Bietz (152) will all be featured in the Parkston rotation. Each of those wrestlers has placed at state at least once.

"The challenge of pulling off the four-peat is competing against everyone else in the state," Boehmer said. "We did lose a good group of six seniors, but we have a good group coming through now. It's a challenge to win a state championship every year, I think the main challenge is keeping the kids in the room motivated."

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Boehmer said there's a lot of competition to be the "top dog" in Class B, as Parkston has been for the last three season. Those challenges could come from Canton, Bon Homme/Scotland or Philip, as main contenders.

"Canton has been always looking to knock us off the last couple years, but now I think it's our year to knock Canton off. Bon Homme is right on our back door, they're also going to be tough."

The Trojans are in action at the Kimball/White Lake tournament at 10 a.m. today in Kimball.

Related Topics: PARKSTONWRESTLING
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