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Bethel middle school wrestlers place first in statewide tournament

Wrestlers Claire Dyment and Cole Iverson pose after finishing first in their weight classes.
Marty Smith
Wrestlers Claire Dyment and Cole Iverson pose after finishing first in their respective weight classes.

On February 22, 2022, wrestlers from Bethel competed in the state middle school championship in Fairbanks. Two of the students earned the top spot in their respective weight classes.

Bethel sent 16 middle school wrestlers to Fairbanks to compete in the Tanana State Championships. The Bethel team finished eighth overall, with three students finishing in the top of their weight classes. Claire Dyment, a sixth-grader from Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, took first place in the 81 pound weight class. KYUK was unable to reach Claire. Her classmate, Cole Iverson, also finished first in the boys 77 pound weight class. It was Iverson's first time in the championship, and his first trip to the Golden Heart City.

“I think it was pretty cool,” said Iverson. “That the first time I went to Fairbanks was for a wrestling trip.”

And there will likely be more chances to compete. Iverson and Dyment are sixth graders, eligible to compete in the state middle school championships twice more. In fact, most of the team will return next year. Assistant Coach Marty Smith was happy about the team’s performance.

“Out of the 16 kids, we had a total of 11 place in the top eight, which is impressive,” Smith said. “I don't know if we've had that many kids with that little experience place that well. And knowing that we have quite a few of them coming back, it's pretty cool.”

While the middle school wrestling season has finished, the wrestlers can still compete in the freestyle season, which begins in a few weeks.

Desiree Hagen is the news director for KOTZ in Kotzebue.
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