BRJHS grapplers nab 7 golds, roll to Tussle title

by Tommy Wells

The Bethel Regional Junior High School wrestling team won seven weight classifications and breezed to the top spot in the team standings at the 2019 Tussle on the Tundra Invitational at Gladys Jung Elementary School. In all, 19 teams from throughout the area participated in the meet.

Sheldon Smith and Isabel Lieb helped highlight Bethel’s outing. The two were among 12 BRJHS school grapplers to medal in the event.

Smith notched the top honors in the boys’ 84-pound weight bracket. He turned in a 4-0 record, including a victory over Joseph Ekamrak in the championship bout. Lieb garnered the girls’ 130-pound crown with a 2-0 victory over teammate Maya Komulainen.

Ambrea Jackson and Paul Dyment also turned in gold-medal performances in the tournament. Jackson went 3-0 and won the girls’ 100-pound division. She defeated Gladys Jung’s Ashlynn Lonewolf in the finals of the bracket. Dyment was 3-0 in the boys’ 112-pound division, including a 6-2 romp over Pioneer’s Connor Murphy in the title round.

Aaron Mute and Jerrit Nicholai gave Bethel a 1-2 finish in the 119-pound boys’ standings. Mute won the title with a 4-0 decision over his teammate in the finals.

Zahcory Jacobs and Leah Valadez also notched wins. Jacobs was 3-0 in the 170-pound class. Valadez was 3-0 in the 230 pound division.

Alvino Vasquez, Josiah Swope and Melissa Engebreth also medaled for BRJHS. Vasquez was third in the boys’ 91-pound standings. Engebreth was third in the girls’ 120-pound bracket, while Swope was third in the boys’ 140-pound bracket.

Ellis Johnson and Kaitlyn Walters both wrestled their way to fifth-place marks.

Other BRJHS grapplers competing in the meet included Warren Nicholai, McKinley Martini and Patricio Vasquez.

Gideon Bedingfield highlighted Gladys Jung’s efforts in the tournament. He won the boys’ 77-pound division and helped GJE take fourth overall.

Bedingfield edged out Aniak’s Keegan Ward in the finals of the 77-pound class.

Bedingfield was one of nine GJE wrestlers to claim medals in the tournament. Cole Iverson, Kayleigh Bell, Ethan Wheeler and Lonewolf all placed second in their respective classifications, while Julie Daniel, Jackson Iverson, Isabell Kerr and Amelia Bayer all took third-place marks. Kara Walters and Riley Boney narrowly missed medals by finishing fourth in their brackets.

Claire Dyment, Michael Merculief, Brandon Ayapan, Kaitlyn Wade and Abrianna Chaney all notched fifth-place marks for GJE. Nathan McCabe and Brianna Engebreth were sixth in their divisions.

Adalyn Samuelson of Napaskiak, Laney Green and Maurice Slats of Chevak, and Daylon Brown of Quinhagak also won gold medals in their weight classes.

Golga Egoak and Hilary Larson of Napaskiak, Sierra Lang and Dylan Nicholson of Aniak, Joseph Ekamrak of Akiachak, Tahira Akaran and Taryn Okitkun of Kotlik, Abraham Fisher of Kwethluk, Jerrit Nicholai of BRHS, Andronic Augustine of Emmonak, and Bryson Kelly of Emmonak won silver medals.

Winning third place bronze medals were Marc Maxie, Cassian Fisher, AnnieLynn Evan, Kevin Gilila all of Napaskiak, Franz Fermoyle, Liam Pingayak of Chevak,and Ace Hill of Chevak, Jonathan Alexie of Quinhagak, Harri Westlock of Emmonak, and Karson Peterson of Aniak.

2019 GJE Tussle on the Tundra Invitational

December 6-7, 2019

Final team standings

1. Bethel; 228.0; 2. Pioneer; 195.5; 3. Napaskiak; 179.0; 4. Gladys Jung; 154.5; 5. Chevak; 130.5; 6. Aniak; 109.0; 7. Emmonak; 76.0; 8. Scammon Bay; 70.5; 9. Kwethluk; 64.5 10. Palmer; 62.5; 11. Quinhagak; 60.0; 12. Akiachak; 57.0; 13. Kotlik; 37.0; 14. Napakiak; 26.0; 15. St. Mary’s; 19.0; 16. Marshall; 16.0; 17. Mountain Village; 9.0; 18. Alakanuk; 4.0; 19. Nunam Iqua; 0.0.