Warriors roll to Bethel Invitational championship

by Tommy Wells

Lindsey Beans-Polk and Hayden Lieb each wrestled their way to the top spots in their respective weight classes and helped power the Bethel Regional High School Warriors to the top spot at the Bethel Invitation Wrestling Tournament this past weekend. Bethel, which had 19 wrestlers finish first, second or third in the tournament, rolled up 230.5 points and finished 2.5 points ahead of Class 4A power Colony.
Beans-Polk highlighted a stellar outing by the BRHS girls’ outing. One of five Lady Warriors competing in the 135-pound weight division, Polk, who was selected the top female wrestler in the tournament, was untouchable. She wrestled her way to a perfect 3-0 record en route to taking first. She secured the victory by claiming a thrilling 4-3 decision over teammate Rebecca Samuelson in the finals of the classification.
Tomasina Nicholai almost gave Bethel a sweep of the top three spots. She advanced to the third-place matchup before falling to Nunapitchuk’s Nikki Nick by a 7-1 margin.
Marissa Black and Katherine Small also participated in the 135-pound bracket for the Lady Warriors.
While the Lady Warriors didn’t net a sweep in the 135-pound standings, Jaron Mute, Beth Hensley and Jacqueline Ferguson made sure BRHS collected a 1-2-3 run in the 125-pound ranks. Mute finished with a 3-0 record en route to finishing first. Hensley finished second in the round-robin division, with her only loss coming to Mute.
The Lady Warriors were even more impressive in the 112-pound division, finishing first, second, fourth and fifth. Dellarae Charlie continued her eye-popping season by grinding out a 4-0 record and placing first. Kelsi Madson finished second, while Cadence Cedars and Mary Brown took fourth and fifth, respectively.
Fiona Phelan added to the Lady Warriors’ gold-medal count in the 119-pound ranks. She went 2-0 and won the division with ease taking down Sophie Karl and Sheresse Jackson both of Akiachak.
Alexis Kinegak narrowly missed a gold. She placed second in the 235-pound ranks. Shanna Mendenhall and Brienna Henry were third and fifth in the 160 standings.
Kiana Alexie took a gold medal home for Akiachak in the girls 160 lb. division.
The Warriors were equally as impressive in the boys’ division. Bethel won three golds and a pair of silver medals.
Lieb, who was tabbed the tournament’s top male wrestler among the 145-285-pound classifications, had little trouble winning the 160-pound crown. He breezed through his first two matches before moving into the championship round to face off with Colony’s Macarius Floresta. Lieb wrestled his way to the title by grinding out a dominating 16-1 decision.
Nicholai Chase finished fourth in the 160-pound standings, going 2-2.
Quinhagak’s Collin Brown was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler in the 103-140-pound ranks.
Landon Smith and Ryan Smith also collected golds. Landon posted a 3-0 record, including a win over Napaskiak’s Seth Jacobs in the finals, to take the 112-pound title. Ryan won the 285-pound title by downing Ethan Connaker.
Nelson Evans and Elijah Lindley placed second in their respective weight classifications. Evans won both of his first two matches and moved into the 125-pound title match to meet Colony’s Jared Hopkins. In the championship match, Evans suffered a 10-5 loss.
Lindley’s only loss came in a 2-1 decision to Unalaska’s Seth Henning in the 215-pound weight bracket. Teammate Kyle Valadez was third in the division.
Joseph Smith, Jamin Crow and Jarvis Evans joined Valadez as bronze-medal winners. Smith was third in the 112-pound division. Crow went 4-1 and took third in the 145-pound division. He secured third by downing Unalaska’s Alexander Esnardo Jr. by a 10-3 margin. Evans dispatched Unalaska’s Raul Garcia for third in the 152-pound ranks.
Bethel also collected fourth-place finishes from Daniel Chakuchin and Shaun Peter, and a fifth-place mark from Devon Smith.
Also wrestling for the Warriors were Eddy Jimmy, Bradley Oulton, Mathew Kapsner, Charles Smith, Jaymes Martins, Josh Pavil, Troy Panruk, Peter Bill, Kaliyu Tsosie, Jordan Leinberger, Sinka Williams and Austin Hunter.
Bethel opened the weekend’s wrestling action by a pair of dual matches on Thursday. The Warriors went 0-2 in the duals, dropping a pair of decisions to 4A programs. Despite collecting wins from Joseph Smith, Hayden Lieb, Ryan Smith and Landon Smith, the BRHS team suffered a 60-18 loss to Colony in their first bout.
Lieb notched the biggest win of the matchup, downing Floresta by a 21-4 margin in their contest.
Bethel suffered a 45-30 loss to Palmer in their second matchup.
In the loss, Lieb, Lindley, Ryan Smith, Landon Smith and Joseph Smith all posted victories.
Bethel will return to action this weekend when they travel to Anchorage to participate in the ACS Invitational at Anchorage Christian School. The tournament, which is the largest Division II meet of the season, will begin on Friday.