FOX CHAPEL — Ten seconds.
Ben Lynch paused, taking time to think before completing his thought. How could he give up a takedown with so little time left? He was already mad at himself for giving up an escape to lose the lead in the second period.
Giving up that takedown in the waning seconds of a 6-4 loss to his brother Alex only added to his frustration.
In the grand scheme of things, the match at the “Seneca Valley Open” before this season had little meaning. But to Seneca Valley sophomore wrestlers and twin brothers Ben and Alex Lynch, it meant a little bit more.
“I shouldn’t have given up that takedown,” Ben said. “I know we’re both good wrestlers. I know I can hang with him. I don’t like admitting he’s the better wrestler.”
When they entered high school, they were in the same weight class. It meant they would have to wrestle off to determine who would be 106 pounds.
That time it was a 5-2 decision and another win for Alex.
“I usually like to be on top. I don’t like losing,” Alex said. “No one likes losing. It always makes me push harder if he beats me up.”
While Alex gets to dictate terms on weight class, both have carved out their niche in the Raiders lineup. Alex and Ben clinched their second berths in the Class AAA WPIAL Championships, which start Thursday at Canon-McMillan High School, Saturday night at the Section 3-AAA Tournament at Fox Chapel High School.
Ben finished second at 113 pounds, while Alex came in third at 106.
Seneca Valley coach Kevin Wildrick said he empathizes with the brothers’ situation.
“For those two, it’s tough being brothers and having to do that. I grew up with my high school team with two twins and they were always two separate weight classes,” Wildrick said. “Now (Ben and Alex) are in separate weight classes. Hopefully, it stays that way for the sake of their home.”
Ben and Alex started wrestling in the fourth grade. Seneca Valley junior Austin Leon, who won the Raiders’ first section title since 2007-08 Saturday, helped convince them.
“We wanted to try wrestling out one day,” Alex said. “I look up to Austin Leon. He always wanted me to wrestle, too.”
The success that followed made them want to stick with it. Alex has a 58-17 career record, while Ben is 50-22. At WPIALs last season, Ben went 1-2 at 113 pounds, while Alex lost in the pigtail round.
While they get chippy in practice, both Ben and Alex enjoy having someone to push them.
“They are both really strong on top. Working turns on guys and they are tough on their feet,” Wildrick said. “They have similar strengths as far as what they do, probably from the fact they’ve grown up as partners for each other their whole lives.”
Losing early in WPIALs last season provided some extra motivation. They worked harder in the offseason and went to the One More Period wrestling camp in Cranberry to face tougher competition.
“When we started in fourth grade, I didn’t think much of winning or losing. As I got older, I realized I could be somebody,” Ben said. “I could be a good wrestler. That’s when I started doing the clubs and the extra work I put in. It makes us better wrestlers.”
Now, Ben and Alex hope to continue to take the fight to their opponents at this weekend’s WPIAL tournament.