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Lieb wins State; Warrior wrestling teams win 3rd and 4th place

Bethel junior Isabel Lieb won the Alaska Student Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament in the 138 lbs girls weight class to win her first state title. Lieb defeated Daisy Hannevold of Soldotna 13-3 in the championship match, which took place on Dec. 17 night at the University of Alaska Anchorage's Alaska Airlines Center.

“It feels awesome. All my hard work paid off in the end,“ Lieb said after her victory.

Last year, as a sophomore, Lieb placed fourth at state. As a freshman she missed the podium. But she said that those experiences drove her harder. She said that she’s dreamed of winning state since elementary school when she saw her brother win a state title. She was determined to take it this year.

“Every match I wrestled was tough. None of them were given to me. I had to work my hardest. Having confidence in myself and believing I could win really helped,” Lieb said.

Bethel’s Peyton Boney defied expectations. The junior was seeded sixth in the 145 lbs weight class, but she earned the state runner-up title after advancing to the championship match with a come-from behind pin in the semifinals.

Bethel junior Emilie Madson placed third, claiming her medal in a dramatic 23-10 victory in the consolation final. This helped the Bethel girls to win fourth place in team scoring with 81 poins, narrowly besting Colony and Service High by two points each and beating Palmer by six.

Lathrop won the girls division with a dominant 179.5 points. They were followed by other large schools: North Pole in second and Soldotna in third.

In girls wrestling, all schools and athletes compete against one another, regardless of school size. Bethel was the only smaller school to crack the top five.

In the Boys Division II tournament, Bethel Junior Paul Dyment and Sophomore Alvino Vasquez advanced furthest for the Warriors. Both earned state runner-up titles, winning all their matches except for the final.

Junior Patricio Vasquez placed fourth, and Jonathon Oscar sixth in their weight classes.

As a team, the Warrior Boys scored 100 points and placed third overall.

Coach Darren Lieb, who’s used to winning state, said that the young Bethel team made a good showing this year.

“We put ourselves in position to win it. We were 10 points down this morning, but we didn’t have a good morning. But we’re young; we have a lot of returning kids coming back. So a lot of first-time experience in the state tournament, but we’ve got to keep getting better,” Coach Lieb said.

Coach Lieb is the father of Isabel Lieb, the new state champion. For a coach with dozens of championship victories, he said that this one will be among the most memorable.

“It’s very special for her to win it like that, was pretty dominant. Everything she did she dictated. She had her goal that she wanted to accomplish. I had a lot compliments about what she did, and how she jumped on me afterwards,” Coach Lieb said.

Coach Lieb said that he’ll be returning next year with all of his top placers from this year, including the new state champion.

Correction: In a previous version of this story we reported, incorrectly, that BRHS Junior Patricio Vasquez placed fifth.

Correction: In a previous version of this story, we reported incorrectly that BRHS Junior Patricio Vasquez placed fifth.

Shane has been serving as General Manager since 2016. He joined KYUK as a journalist before he was promoted to radio director. He coaches several youth sports teams and enjoys hunting and fishing for his family and friends.