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Badgers’ Senior Wrestler John Dwyer Crowned State Champion
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11 February 2017  
Badgers' senior wrestler John Dwyer hugs his mom Kelly Dwyer after winning the state championship at the Prescott Valley Event Center on Friday February 10th, 2017 in Prescott Valley, Arizona All Photos by: Torrence Dunham
Badgers' Senior John Dwyer Wins Close Match to Take Home Championship

PRESCOTT VALLEY- Friday night at the Prescott Valley Event Center was a moment Prescott High School Badgers’ senior wrestler John Dwyer has been working toward for the last four years, standing on the pedestal as a state champion in the division-three 195-pound weight class. 

“It’s my dream since freshman year to have my name on the back of that shirt,” Dwyer said after the match. “It’s finally come true.”

Dwyer (29-2) beat Omar Ibanez of Pueblo in the first round and then took down Edward Hercel of Marcos De Niza and Brian Corrales of Salpointe Catholic by a combined score of 19-3 in the quarterfinal and semi-final matches, respectively. In the final round, Dwyer took on Erick Mickelson of Thunderbird who sported a 40-4 record during the season. After a competitive match, Dwyer edged out Mickelson 8-6.

“He’s (Mickelson) strong no doubt, way stronger than me,” Dwyer said. “I went into that match knowing I was quicker so I used that against him.”

This was not the first experience for Dwyer in the state playoffs, as he participated last season taking fourth place. The defeat only fueled Dwyer as he prepared for the following season.

“It pushed me a lot, I hate losing,” Dwyer said. “Coming into this tournament, being in a familiar place, remembering that loss motivated me to push harder and harder and that’s what helped me win that match against Aaron (Mickelson).”

Dwyer now joins his first-year head coach Max Payne forever engrained as a champion at Prescott High School and serves as an example of how hard work pays off. 

“I feel excited for him, he has a bright future ahead of him for college,” said Payne who was two-time champion when he wrestled for Prescott High School. “These guys get to see him be successful, they get to see what he went through, they know what to expect for these years coming.”

“He’s setting up the future for success,” Payne continued.

The championship concludes a successful first campaign coaching at his alma matter for Payne.

“It’s a dream come true to be able to be a state champion, come back, and coach your own team and have success not only with John but the rest of the team,” Payne said.

Meanwhile, Dwyer looks to continue his success at the collegiate level.