Parkston's Bietz to wrestle at SDSU
PARKSTON -- Three-time state champion and Parkston High School wrestler Blake Bietz intends to wrestle at South Dakota State University, the high school announced Tuesday.
PARKSTON - Three-time state champion and Parkston High School wrestler Blake Bietz intends to wrestle at South Dakota State University, the high school announced Tuesday.
The news is a bit bittersweet for Bietz, who won’t be wrestling this season due to a season-ending knee injury, coach James Boehmer said.
“It was a good news, bad news situation, unfortunately,” said Boehmer, who added the word of Bietz’s commitment and his diagnosis came on the same day recently.
Boehmer said the injury occurred during gym class and classified it as a “freak injury.” Bietz intends to sign his national letter of intent Thursday in Parkston.
“The main thing is that we felt really bad for Blake because it’s his senior season,” the coach said. “He was highly likely to be a state champion, the first four-time winner we’ve had here at Parkston. He’s was on pace to break pretty much every record here. I know he felt like he’s letting the team down but that’s not the case. That just speaks to what kind of person he is, because he’s not worried about himself. It’s about the team.”
Bietz, a two-time Daily Republic wrestler of the year, was 45-1 a year ago and won the Class B 152-pound state championship, with 25 of those victories coming via pinfall.
Bietz won state championships at 113 pounds as a eighth-grader with a 47-3 record in 2013 and 145 pounds as a sophomore in 2015 with a 48-6 record. He was third as a seventh-grader (106 pounds) and as a freshman (132 pounds).
Boehmer said the ability from Bietz to handle the injury news is a credit to his mental strength.
“I think it’s one of things he’s being recruited for, in that he’s always been a winner,” he said. “This injury is a testament of how he’s going to be a winner. He’s going to find a way to beat the injury and it’s not anything that’s going to keep us down.”
Bietz has the school record for wins, with a record of 225 wins and 21 losses. He has more than 100 pins for his career and has joined Riley Reiff as the only Trojan in school history to win three individual state championships.
Bietz was a grappler for the Trojans during their three straight Class B team titles from 2013-15. Last year, Parkston finished second as a team at the state tournament.
Bietz will join a rapidly rising program in Brookings, as the Jackrabbits are ranked No. 17 in this week’s Intermat Division I team rankings. That’s the second-best ranking in the Big 12 Conference, which SDSU is in its second season as a member.
Boehmer said he appreciated that SDSU recognizes in-state talent and wants those athletes wrestling for the premier in-state program.
“They want the South Dakota talent,” he said. “They want that talent to be on their game. As a program, that makes us feel really good when the college around here is interested and they’re looking for great wrestlers.”