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Bethel boys take first place in state wrestling tournament; girls take fourth

Greg Lincoln
Delta Discovery
The Bethel Warriors took home the state wrestling championship on Dec. 19, 2021.

The Bethel Regional High School (BRHS) boys wrestling team took first place at the state wrestling tournament this weekend. That was despite a challenging season, which was delayed and interrupted by COVID-19. The BRHS girls wrestling team took fourth place.

Going into the last four matches of the tournament, the Bethel boys team was tied with Reddington High School from Wasilla. But Bethel was able to eke out the win, in large part thanks to BRHS senior Landon Smith, who capped off his undefeated season with a fourth state title in the 119 pound weight division.

Smith became the 15th male wrestler in Alaska history to win four state titles, winning each year of his high school career. He is the third wrestler from BRHS to do so, following Thomas Dyment and Hayden Lieb. BRHS has the most wrestlers from any high school to win four state titles. Landon Smith was also voted Outstanding Male Wrestler of the state tournament. He was also awarded the Alaska Athlete of the Week by the Alaska Hall of Fame.

Two other boys took first place in their weight classes. Paul Dyment won the 125 pound weight division with a 26-11 record, and Joseph Smith finished a 26-2 record with a win in the 130 pound weight class. Avino Vasquez placed third in the 103 pound weight class with a 13-11 record.

Among the girls, BRHS senior Fiona Phelan medaled with a third place finish in the 130 pound weight division, capping off a 26-3 season.

BRHS also made history with former wrestling coach Bob Graham being inducted into the Alaska Wrestling Hall of Fame. Graham started the Bethel wrestling program in 1969.

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