Two Trojans earn place on medal stand

Griffin Parriott (top) placed third at 120 pounds in the state Class AA meet. This was his second trip to the medal stand at state. (Chuck Kajer Photo)

All four New Prague Trojan wrestlers competing at the state individual meet Friday survived the first day of competition and advanced to Saturday’s wrestlebacks. Two of the four earned a place on the medal stand.

It was a productive weekend for the four Trojans. Freshman Griffin Parriott had the best showing, placing third at 120 pounds. Sophomore James Berg did not place at 126 pounds, having the misfortune of matching up against two of the top wrestlers in the state in his three matches. Senior Morgan Parriott did not place, ending his six-year varsity career with the school record for wins. Finally, junior Nathan Preston placed fourth and showed his skill with a couple of impressive wins in the tournament.

Griffin Parriott New Prague 120-pounder Griffin Parriott opened the tournament with a win over Jayden Bullerman of Adrian, winning a 1-0 decision. In the second round he faced off against Tyler Funk, who he had beaten the previous day in the team tournament. This time he lost a 3-2 decision, sending him into the wrestlebacks. Funk went on to place second.

Parriott had another rematch from Thursday against Ryan Erdmann of Kasson- Mantorville. He won 4-2 in overtime, then got a forfeit win over Zach Spychalla of Simley. Parriott scored a 5-1 win over Tyler Giza of Fergus Falls, then scored a major decision in the third place match against Logan Stiller of Monticello, 13-5 to earn his second state tournament medal. He placed second last year.

“All of his matches were real tight,” Coach Greg Tikalsky said. “When you get to state, there is a lot of good competition.”

James Berg James Berg, at 126 pounds, faced off against the topranked wrestler in the opening match at 126 pounds in Nate Thomas of Kasson- Mantorville and lost an 11-6 decision. After winning an 8- 2 decision over Tone Fuenffinger of Hibbing, he lost a 5-0 decision to another highly-ranked wrestler, Tristan Manderfeld of Foley and was eliminated. Thomas went on to place first and Manderfeld fourth.

“James wrestled real well. He had some tough draws,” Tikalsky said. “He will be better for it next year. He’s a driven young man and this will motivate him.”

Morgan Parriott Senior Morgan Parriott was making his second appearance at state at 152 pounds, and he opened with a 5-4 decision over Reed Gmahl of Mora to advance to the quarterfinals He lost a 3- 1 decision to Nathanael Holecek of Thief River Falls to go into the wrestlebacks.

Parriott defeated Matthew Slater of Adrian 1-0, but missed a spot in the medal around by losing 3-0 to Walker Thiele of Totino- Grace.

Holacek placed third and Thiele fourth.

“We’re going to miss Morgan next year. He’s brought a lot to the team in the past six years,” Tikalsky said. “It was nice having him in the lineup. We were just accustomed to counting on him for six points most every time.”

Nathan Preston At 220 pounds, Nathan Preston opened with a 7-1 loss to JD Struxness of Dawson- Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley, who went on to finish second in the tournament.

In the wrestlebacks, preston scored a 7-2 win over Jack Ryan of Simley, and defeated Max Kaping of Litchfield 12-2. He scored an 11-2 win over Joe Schiller, a defending state champion, in the consolation semifinals, then lost to Jacob Claybaugh of Waseca in the third-place match by a fall in 1:42. It was the third time the two had squared off this season, having split the other two matches.

“Nathan had some impressive wins in the tournament, he just got caught too long in a counter move and got pinned in the final match,” Tikalsky said.

Next season The Trojans say goodbye to six seniors on this year’s squad, four of whom were on the tournament roster. Besides Morgan Parriott, the Trojans lose their starting 170-, 182- and 195- pounders.

“Logan Giles is a talented wrestler who came up with some big wins. Andrew Maruska is a very dedicated and hard worker, and Cody Sirek fought off a lot of injuries and had an outstanding senior year, with some big wins for us in key situations.”

Also graduating are Danny Scharf, a first-year wrestler, and Pat Zeimet, who Tikalsky said was a good role player for the Trojans.

“We’re losing some good wrestlers, but I’m excited about the future,” Tikalsky said. “After getting a taste of the state tournament, we hope to get more people to dedicate themselves to returning.”