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Little brothers finally join their siblings as state champions at Lewisburg

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Lewisburg’s players pose together with the PIAA Class AA trophy after defeating Deer Lakes on Saturday, 6-0. Philip Permyashkin (bottom, left) and Anthony Bhangdia (bottom, right) are two players who joined older brothers as state champions on Saturday. Ben Liscum and Jack Dieffenderfer also joined their older brothers as state champions.

HERSHEY — Philip Permyashkin was able to get a great view of Lewisburg’s run to a state championship in 2015. He was there on the bench with the team each game as a team manager with his younger brother as a junior high kid.

Permyashkin got to watch his two brothers Andre and Michael play that season and make an incredible run to the state championship by winning the District 4 title and going 25-0 en route to the program’s first PIAA Class AA title since 2000.

Just three years later, Philip Permyashkin saw his older sister Selena make a run with the Lewisburg girls soccer team to the 2018 PIAA Class AA championship game where the Green Dragons lost a heartbreaker in overtime.

There’s been a lot of success in the Permyashkin family in high school soccer, and Philip wanted to join his brothers and sister. You could say there was a pretty good amount of motivation to get to the state final.

The junior forward was a large part of Lewisburg’s run this year, having played in every game this season. It culminated Saturday afternoon in Hershey and Permyashkin can say that he too, like his two older brothers, is now a state champion. The Green Dragons cruised past District 7 champion Deer Lakes at Hersheypark Stadium, 6-0, to win the program’s fourth state title.

“I can say they’re state champions and I’m a state champion. It feels really good to be up there with them,” Permyashkin said Saturday. “We wanted to create a name for ourselves, especially after last year because it was such a devastating loss (in state semifinals). Just coming back here in this kind of fashion, it means so much to everyone on this team. It feels good because now we can say the 2020 team instead of the 2015, 2016 team. People can look up to us now.”

Saturday’s win was one for numerous younger siblings to join their older brothers. Former Lewisburg standout Nathaniel Liscum would often joke around with his little brother Ben — a Penn State commit — that he was a state champion and Ben wasn’t.

Now, Liscum doesn’t have to hear it from him anymore.

“It’s amazing, finally get up there with my brother. I don’t have to hear his crap about I’m not a state champion,” Liscum joked with a gold medal draped around his neck. “It feels amazing obviously. The goal coming into year was to add a fourth star to our crest and to be able to do that, it’s surreal.”

Anthony Bhangdia’s two older brothers were both dominant on the field with Lewisburg. Joey Bhangdia became the school’s all-time leading goal scorer and went on to play at Penn. Tommy Bhangdia was a standout Green Dragon as well. Both won back-to-back titles together in 2015 and 2016. The brothers’ oldest sister Nicole was a standout for the Lewisburg girls program in the early 2010s as well.

The youngest Bhangdia star wanted to become a state champion like his brothers. Anthony Bhangdia didn’t score a goal like his two brothers did in 2015, but his name will forever be linked to success as he had an assist in the 2020 state championship.

“It feels great (to join them). I’m on top of the world right now. We worked so hard for this. All the years of training and just desire to win, it’s all come true,” Anthony Bhangdia said.

The younger siblings of those 2015 and 2016 state champions can finally say they’re state champions after coming so close in the past few seasons. Jack Dieffenderfer also joined his older brother Cade, who was part of the 2015 state championship team.

“It feels great. We wanted this since we were in eighth grade looking at our brothers win a state title. We wanted redemption and we got it today,” Bhangdia said.

Success in the state tournament simply runs in the family for numerous Lewisburg athletes.

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