What It Means To Be A Senior Wrestler On And Off The Mat

Dec 14, 2017

Bethel Regional High School senior Matthew Hunter winning his 126 lb. regional wrestling weight bracket on December 9, 2017 at Bethel Regional High School.
Credit Patrick Williams / LKSD

At the regional wrestling conference this past weekend, seniors from across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta competed in their home region for the last time. Some may never wrestle again; others are in Anchorage competing in the State Wrestling Championship that begins on Thursday. BRHS correspondent Hunter Carter was on the floor at the regional conference in the Bethel Regional High School gym, finding out what the seniors’ final home competition meant to them and what leadership they offered their team along the way.

On an energetic Friday night, Coach Daren Lieb and the Bethel Wrestling program kicked off the Bethel Regional High School Senior Night event for the wrestlers. This was the start of the 2017 Great Alaskan Conference Championship matches to determine which wrestlers would move on to compete at the state level. Forty-one seniors were recognized for the last time in their home region.

Senior leadership is one of the most important factors on any team, as Duncan Okitkun from Kotlik explains.

“So what it means to me to be a senior and to be a leader is trying to make others better," Okitkun said. "Like trying to be there for them and make them grow as a group.”

Mian Alexie from Bethel Regional High School also shared his thoughts on his leadership role.

“You know, Regions at home really helps you feel good. You got your family, your friends, your teammates here,” Alexie said.

Andrew Wilson from Aniak saw his role as a senior extend into the classroom.

“Well, I help to teach some of the kids on the wrestling team how to wrestle," Wilson said. "Sometimes I’ll help kids if they’re struggling with math or different school subjects and I know what they need to know.”

The senior wrestlers took pride in representing their families and communities at this event. Matthew Hunter of Bethel Regional High School shared his thoughts on what it was like to win Regions in front of his home crowd and family.

“Happiest of the four years of my high school career," Hunter said. "I finally did what one of my biggest goals was. I’m a Region champ and showcased myself, not just as a wrestler, but as a person as well in front of my home crowd, my family, friends. The feeling of the sensation is awesome.”

Nine seniors from Bethel Regional High School will be moving on to compete at State.

This is Hunter Carter, student correspondent, reporting for KYUK.