The four members of the 2017 class of the MAWA Hall of Fame — Joe Pistone, Matthew Lindsay, Deanna Rix Betterman and Roy Treadwell — show off their Hall of Fame plaques. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The four members of the 2017 class of the MAWA Hall of Fame — Joe Pistone, Matthew Lindsay, Deanna Rix Betterman and Roy Treadwell — show off their Hall of Fame plaques. SUBMITTED PHOTO

BATH — Anytime the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance holds its annual Hall of Fame dinner it is a special occasion, but this past Saturday was a historic night for the Maine wrestling community.

For the first time in the history of the MAWA a female wrestler was inducted into the Hall of Fame with former Marshwood standout Deanna Rix Betterman being honored along with three other wrestlers.

“To be honest, at the beginning, I didn’t even know that until I was looking at the (program) and I saw I was the only female on there and it’s awesome,” said Rix Betterman. “Girls wrestling has come such a long way since I first started wrestling and it’s just awesome to see it keep growing.”

Betterman, who is the daughter of longtime Marshwood coach and fellow MAWA Hall of Famer Matt Rix, would make national headlines during her high school career. She won over 100 high school matches — all against boys — and became the first ever female wrestler to reach a state final back in 2005.

The former Marshwood star would come up just short in the championship match as she dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 decision in double overtime.

One thing that made Betterman’s high school career special was the fact that she got to wrestle for her dad, who had the privilege of inducting Betterman on Saturday night.

“I didn’t think I was going to get emotional but I started tearing up,” said Betterman of her dad’s heartfelt speech. “It’s been a long ride for the both of us and it brought us so close together. We have a bond like no other dad and daughter have.”

Betterman’s wrestling resume is filled with accolades that most wrestlers could only dream of. She won three straight Junior Girls National Championships. The former Hawk would finish fifth at the world championships for the U.S. National team in both 2008 and 2009.

The Marshwood graduate was happy to be one of the faces of Maine wrestling on the national stage.

“I remember first leaving the state of Maine, and being at these big national competitions and I would be so proud to represent my state and tell people I’m from Maine,” said Betterman, who is the mother of two future grapplers.

Her dreams of reaching the Olympics would come to an end at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. She would open with a win before falling to Michaela Hutchison in the quarterfinals. Future 2016 Olympic Gold medalist Helen Maroulis would win Betterman’s weight class at the trials.

While her competitive career may be over, Betterman will continue to be involved in the sport through her Betterman Elite Wrestling Club in Colorado Springs. She runs the club with her husband Joe Betterman, who is a former Team USA Greco-Roman wrestler.

“Retiring back in April was hard, hard, hard,” said Betterman. “I’ve been doing it since I was four years old, but it made it a lot easier knowing that wrestling was still going to be such a huge part of my life. I have so much coaching ahead of me, and to help share my knowledge with all these kids made it a lot easier to walk away from competing myself.”


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