Griffin Parriott is intense and confident.
Parriott just doesn’t want to defeat an opponent when he takes to the wrestling mat. He wants to punish him.
All of those elements have contributed to Parriott’s rise to No. 6 in the country at 145 pounds, according to InterMat rankings. The New Prague junior is 24-0 on the season.
“The big difference in Griffin’s wrestling compared to last year is how physical he is in his match,” New Prague coach Greg Tikalsky said. “It’s a painful six minutes for every opponent. He doesn’t stop coming at you until the match ends.”
Parriott, who has not committed to any college wrestling program, already was regarded as one of the state’s best before his transformation. He is the Class 2A defending state champion at 132 pounds, accumulating a 42-1 record in the process.
“I’m ready to fight for the entire six minutes,” Parriott said. “I want to be physical and relentless.”
That wasn’t always the case. It was something he learned through a couple of different experiences over the course of the summer.
The first came while watching some of the Gophers wrestlers in their practice room. It was in the heat of the summer, and the intensity level was running rampant.
“It was even more intense than what I expected,” Parriott said. “I wanted to start emulating what they were doing.”
The other came while vying for a bid to make the USA World Team and a trip to Slovakia. Holding a slim one-point lead, Parriott was taken down by Dominick Demas with one second left in the match to flip the outcome. Demas wrestles for Dublin Coffman High School in Ohio.
“That was really upsetting,” Parriott said. “It was something I had to learn from. I hope it pays off.”
It did in the prestigious Cheese-head Invitational in Kaukauna, Wis. He won the 145-pound championship with a 3-2 victory over No. 9-ranked Vincent Turk of Montini Catholic, Ill., in the finals. Turk has signed with the University of Iowa.
“I didn’t want to get beat by a Hawkeye guy,” Parriott said. “There is a little more pressure when you’re ranked. You need to win to hold your spot in the rankings.”
Parriott is closing in on the school record of 189 career victories. That mark was established in 2013 by his older brother, Morgan.
“Griffin is a great kid, and knows the sport well,” Tikalsky said. “He has really become a great leader.”
He can often be found squaring off with senior James Berg (138 pounds) or junior Nick Knutson (152 pounds) during practice. Once in awhile, senior Darrick Kvam at 160 pounds gets thrown in the fray. Berg has committed to the Gophers.
“It helps when you have good competition to go against at practice,” Parriott said. “We have a battle every day in practice.”
Tikalsky has seen the intensity that group brings carry over to his entire squad.
“Griffin’s style has really had a ripple effect on our team,” Tikalsky said. “We’re seeing more and more of our kids wrestling with his intensity and confidence.
“The level of intensity has increased in our room as a result of his influence. We have become much more competitive.”