Above Photo: Courtesy of Brandon High School, Trey Lane (63-0) (left) and Noah Ridley (81-0) both went undefeated this season and claimed Individual state titles.
“We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” This quote by the famous philosopher Aristotle has been a way of life for the Brandon High School wrestling program for a very long time. Dominance doesn’t even begin to describe what the Eagles have accomplished throughout the years.
For 34 years, the Eagles obliterated the competition, setting the record for the longest winning streak in American sports history with an astounding 459 wins in a row. The Streak, an ESPN documentary that came out in 2008, chronicled the winning-streak that started way back in 1974 under head coach Jim Graves and continued up until 2008 under legendary head coach Russ Cozart. The streak came to an end in 2008 when South Dade defeated Brandon 32-28; however, the dynasty didn’t end there.
The Eagles had won 17 state championships in a row and 28 state championships overall. That streak ended this season. The Eagles were defeated by Lake Gibson 160.5 to 139.5 in the Class 2A tournament. “That’s what sports are all about, winning and losing,” said Cozart. “Our win-streak and consecutive titles streak is over, but I’m proud of all the boys, they worked really hard.”
According to Cozart, who just finished his 38th season as the head wrestling coach at Brandon, last season when they won the state title, they had two individual state champions and four that placed, this season they won 2nd place as a team, but had two individual state champions and six players that cracked the top 6 to place.
Trey Lane (63-0) and Noah Ridley (81-0) both went undefeated and claimed individual state titles. Ridley, the team captain, didn’t miss a match the entire season and was the lone senior on the team, claiming his first individual state title as well. Ridley was the 118 state Champion at Brandon, and Lane was the 119, adding to an unmatched legacy of most individual state champions from one school in Florida.
“We are setting the bar high for other programs if they are willing to take on the challenge,” said Cozart. “Finishing second isn’t bad, as long as you don’t get used to it.”