by Tommy Wells
The Bethel Regional High School wrestlers came up big this past weekend at the largest Division II tournament of the season. Bethel had eight wrestlers finish in the top three in their respective weight classifications en route to rolling up 154.5 points and claiming the team crown at the 2018 ACS Denali Auto Glass Invitational.
Hayden Lieb and Joseph Smith highlighted the Warriors’ list of individual winners. The two wrestled their way to first-place marks in their weight classifications.
Lieb pounded out a perfect 4-0 record during the tournament. He finished off his outing on Saturday with a victory over Grace Christian’s Gabe Martin in the finals of the 160-poound bracket. Lieb, now 19-0 for the season, claimed a 5-2 win over Martin in the championship match.
Smith holds a 21-6 record for the season by rolling to a first-place finish in the 112-pound division. He capped a 5-0 outing by outwrestling Dillingham’s Demetry Hoseth in the finals by a 13-6 clip.
Bethel had four wrestlers claim second-place in their divisions, including Dellarae Charlie and Jaron Mute. Landon Smith and Ryan Smith were second in their respective divisions.
Charlie, 14-2 for the year, advanced to the finals of the girls’ 103-pound bracket to face Eielson’s Jolie Lucas. In the championship match. Mute, who went 3-1 over the weekend, moved to the championship of the 125-pound classification before falling to Wasilla’s Kristina Gerusimyuk.
The loss placed Mute to 16-1 for the season.
Landon Smith lost to Wrangell’s Ryan Rooney in the championship match of the boys’ 103-pound division. In the finals, he dropped a narrow 6-4 decision to Rooney.
Ryan Smith turned in a stellar effort in the tournament, going 4-1. He won his first four matches and moved into the 285-pound title bout to face off with Haley Osborne of Mt. Edgecumbe.
Rebecca Samuelson and Alexis Kinegak also did well in the girls’ division. Both finished third in their brackets. Samuelson defeated North Pole’s Janice Dykes in the third-place match in the 130-pound classification. Kinegak was the bronze medalist in the 235-pound standings, defeating Alizae Brown of Palmer and Tharissa Thomas of Kotzebue.
Daniel Chakuchin narrowly missed a medal. He finished fourth in the 130-pound standings. He suffered a close 7-5 loss to Lloydy Ayojiak of Togiak representing Mt. Edgecumbe in the third-place match.
Kelsi Madson was fifth in the girls’ 103-pound classification. Elijah Lindley was fifth in the boys’ 215-pound bracket.
Others competing in the tournament included Max Black, Jamin Crow, Jarvis Evan, Shaun Peter and Kyle Valadez.
Bethel will return to action this weekend when they travel to Wasilla to participate in the Lancer Smith Memorial Wrestling Tournament. The tournament will be held in the Menard Sports Complex.