Falcons reign! Ben Lippen wrestling wins third consecutive state championship

Lou Bezjak/The State

Ben Lippen needed a little spark early in its state championship wrestling match, and Braden Mayre provided it.

Mayre trailed through most of his 145-pound match, including 6-3 after two periods before pinning Cardinal Newman’s Troy Seal with 3.8 seconds left. That gave the Falcons a lead and they went on to defeat the Cardinals, 59-21, on Saturday to win their third consecutive SCISA championship.

“Something I take pride in is I might not be the most genetically gifted, but I’m the hardest worker. All the obstacles I faced I used as fuel to have moments like this,” Mayre said. “I had all my friends coming up to me telling me how great I did. And it takes one match to start a fire. That’s all I got to say. To God be the glory.”

Ben Lippen wrestlers held up three fingers when taking pictures with the championship trophy. They ended their post-match huddle by yelling “Dynasty.”

Ben Lippen’s three consecutive titles and four championship appearances in a row support that.

Mayre’s win gave Ben Lippen a 17-15 lead. The Falcons followed that by winning four consecutive pins from Zack McDougald (152), Harrison Jones (160), Drake Porter (170) and Burton Brewer (182).

Brewer’s pin of Braxton Rogers clinched the Falcons’ third straight title and first for new coach Wes Hester, who took over for Bert Medlin.

Ben Lippen won all of its 13 dual matches and defeated Augusta Christian and Hammond in the playoffs to advance to the championship.

Other Ben Lippen winners on Saturday were Austin Huff (220), Nate Cole (285), Sam Kipp (103) and Reese Carson (120).

“I knew our guys were fired up. Some of our guys went to their match the other night,” Hester said. “It’s been a beautiful season. We have experienced a little loss here and there. We are happy so this means a lot.”

The loss spoiled Cardinal Newman’s first championship appearance since 2018. The Cardinals won four consecutive championships from 2015-18.

The Cardinals also were dominant when coach Cole McCarter was a wrestler at the school. McCarter, a 2012 graduate, is the school’s all-time winningest wrestler and helped the Cardinals to four team state championships.

McCarter has the program back in the right direction.

Cardinal Newman started strong by winning three of the first four matches. Aidan Canady (113), Jason Wagner (126) won by pin and Dacha Dawson (132) won by decision to give the Cards a 15-6 lead.

But Ben Lippen dominated the rest of the match.