Warriors wrestle their way to 6th at Vandergraw Invite

by Tommy Wells

Hayden Lieb and Landon Smith powered their way to first-place marks on Saturday and helped the Bethel Regional High School Warriors put a positive end to a tough weekend. A day after weather conditions in Bethel forced the team to miss competing in the 2019 ACS Invitational, the Warriors touched down and wrestled their way to sixth in the overall standings at the Glenn Vandergraw Invitational at Dimond High School.

Bethel, competing with just eight wrestlers, scored 97 points in the meet and missed a top-five finish by just two points. Colony edged Soldotna for the tournament title.

Lieb continued to prove he is among the state’s elite wrestlers with a dominating performance in the 160-pound classification. He went 3-0 in the tournament, winning all three matches with falls. He opened the meet with a quick victory over Chugiak’s Grant Jones. After downing Colony’s Jalen Tosten in the semifinals, Lieb put the finishing touches on the 160-pound title by upending Tanner Thornhill of Colony in the finals.

Like Lieb, Smith had a good outing in winning the 112-pound classification. He went 2-0, defeating John Lavarias of West Anchorage in the semifinals. For the championship match Smith went 9-7 over South’s Dylan Shaw for the win.

Nelson Evans was the third BRHS grappler reaching the finals. He went 2-1 overall, defeating Andrew Westdahl of Chugiak and Owen Manley of Palmer, and advancing to the championship of the 135-pound division before dropping a tough 5-4 decision to Colony’s Rett Gallagher.

Tyler Laraux and Jamin Crow also turned in solid outings for the Warriors. Laraux placed fourth in the 125-pound ranks with a 3-2 mark. Crow went 3-2 in the 145-pound division and took fourth.

Alex Madson, Jarvis Evans and Kyle Valadez also participated in the meet for BRHS.

Lawrence Bayer and Shaun Peter starred in the junior varsity division. The two wrestled to a 1-2 finish in the 189-pound bracket. Bayer, who went 5-0 overall, netted the 189-pound title after Peter was forced to cede the championship match due to an injury.

Peter had won his first four matches en route to advancing to face Bayer in the finals.

Mason Fitka gave Bethel a third-place medal in the JV class. He went 3-2 in the 135-pound bracket. He defeated Metlakatla’s Ryan Lent in the third-place contest.

Kahliel Martin also turned heads in the JV division. He wrestled his way to fourth in the 140-pound ranks. Abram Wasuli was sixth in the 215-pound standings.

Charles Smith and Kaliyu Tsosie placed ninth and 11th, respectively, in their weight classes.

Dellarae Charlie and Fiona Phelan picked up gold medals in the girls’ division. Charlie wrestled her way to a 5-0 mark in the 112-pound class. Phelan turned in a 2-0 mark in the 130-pound class.

2019 Glenn Vandergraw Invitational

Saturday, Nov. 9th, 2019

Dimond High School in Anchorage

Varsity Final team standings

1. Colony, 173.0; 2. Soldotna, 144.5; 3. Wasilla, 123.0; 4. Lathrop, 109.0; 5. East Anchorage, 99.0; 6. Bethel, 97.0; 7. South Anchorage, 71.0; 8. West Valley, 67.5; 9. Palmer, 61.5; 10. North Pole, 49.0; 11. West Anchorage, 41.0; 12. Chugiak, 37.0; 13. Eagle River, 29.0; 14. Service, 25.0; 15. Bartlett, 12.0; 16. Dimond, 11.0; 17. Emmonak, 6.0; 18. Kodiak, 0.0; 19. Napaskiak, 0.0; 20. Redington, 0.0.