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SPECIAL REPORT: Sibling state champions

Khel and Khyla Lipumano became the first siblings to win an Arizona wrestling state championship in the same year

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A brother and sister had never won an AIA state wrestling title in the same year until Yuma Catholic's Khel and Khyla Lipumano each captured a state title this year.

"I just can't feel nothing but pride every time they do something like that,” their father, Dale Lipumano said.

"The fact that we were the first ones to do it, it felt good,” Khyla said.

Both had to battle back from adversity to claim these state titles. Khel lost the state title last year, but this year he claimed his second state title in three years.

"He has physical gifts and a lot of kids don't have his sophomore year in the state finals," Yuma Catholic Athletic Director and Wrestling Head Coach Jeff Welsing said. "He should have won. But he didn't."

"It's really just fighting back for what's mine," Khel said. "Ever since I lost last year, I was just working in the off-season, especially in the season, to take back what's mine.”

Khyla was injured last year and couldn't compete at state, but this year she joined her brother at a state championship.

"It really hurt me that I wasn't able to wrestle after everything I've done throughout the whole season," Khyla said. "Then I had to wait and just watch everyone."

"She's been on the big stage, national stage for, you know, her whole life," Welsing said. "Last three or four years, you just knew there was big things coming from her”

While their parents never wrestled, Khel and Khlya have made wrestling synonymous with the Lipamuno name.

"Wrestling to my family is just building our legacy," Khel said. "Like my last name. It's my dad's grandpa, so I'm just trying to build the best for his name.”

With a house full of two high-achieving athletes it's only natural for there to be some competition.

"It really motivated me since she won at first, and it just I had to win it," he said. "There definitely is like that little sibling rivalry, but in the end, it really doesn't matter. Just do the best you can.”

"There was a little bit of a joke because as soon as my son won his state title, my daughter went to nationals and won a national title, not even a month later," Dale said. "So the joke was, hey, you can't even give your brother a little bit more time in the spotlight”

While both Lipamuno siblings are fearsome wrestlers, they couldn't be more different off the mats.

"He's quiet," Dale said. "He goes about his business. He likes to keep himself. Khlya, she's I would say she's a little bit more outgoing than my son. She tries to spend more time with her friends.”

While they have different personalities, their love for wrestling has brought them together.

"We're really we've gotten really close ever since we've gone to high school," Khel said. "And but wrestling is kind of deep, deepened it.”

"Honestly, we weren't really close when we were younger, wrestling-wise or anything," Khyla said. "So I think in high school this year, we started getting close due to wrestling.”

Both Lipumano siblings will be back at Yuma Catholic and are looking to repeat state champions.

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Chas Messman

Chas Messman joined KYMA in July 2023 as News 11’s Sports Director. If you have any sports story ideas, send them to


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