Lucy Beckham Rising as Southern Powerhouse

(Photo Courtesy of Steve Slack)

In August of 2020, Lucy Beckham (S.C.) opened its doors for the first time. Five months later, in January of 2021, the Bengals lacrosse program partook in its first ever preseason practices ahead of what would be the programs inaugural season.

“We had about 20 kids and maybe 10 could catch and throw. The other 10 had never played lacrosse before,” Lucy Beckham head coach Parker Ferrigan told Lacrosse Bucket in an interview.

Coach Ferrigan, an upstate New York native, had been a top-50 recruit out of Baldwinsville High School (N.Y.) as a goalie. He committed to national power Syracuse as a freshman and played two years there before transferring to Delaware where he graduated in 2017. He was the starter for the Blue Hens during his first year in Newark in 2016. His older brother, Griffin, played goalie at Saint Joseph’s from 2009-2012 and is top-10 for saves in a season (175) in program history.

In turn, Ferrigan had witnessed and been part of much success on the lacrosse field when he arrived in Charleston. But ahead of that first season in 2021, he found himself in a situating where he was tasked with building a program from the ground up.

Lucy Beckham’s first season of lacrosse, however, was a successful one. The Bengals went 12-3 overall, 8-0 in region play, and advanced to the quarterfinals where they fell to Oceanside Collegiate Academy 18-2.

Since that inaugural season, all Lucy Beckham has done is continue to rise.

Coach Ferrigan put together a schedule in 2022 that saw the Bengals open the year against that Landsharks squad who had ended their season a year prior. Lucy Beckham won that game 8-7 in overtime. The Bengals faced another test just a week later as they played traditional state power and crosstown foe Wando for the first time. The upstart Bengals edged the Palmetto State’s most consistent program 11-10.

That season-opening contest wouldn’t be the only time in which Lucy Beckham would meet Oceanside Collegiate. The pair would face off in the state semifinals and, again, it was the Bengals who came out on top in a 10-8 victory.

Advancing to the state championship game, Lucy Beckham took down Christ Church Episcopal 10-8 to earn the school’s first state championship in just its second year in existence.

“The biggest thing was that we have a full-time strength and condition coach (Ben Rupp) who works with our team and our guys were in the weight room four days a week until the season began,” Coach Ferrigan said when asked about what helped aide that jump from year one to year two. “Having out kids in the weight room was a huge part of our success. “

That season season saw the Bengals make the jump from quarterfinalists to champions and they did so against a stronger scheduled that included those two aforementioned regular season battles over the Warriors and Landsharks, as well as a battle versus St. Joseph Regional (N.J.). The Green Knights were the only team to hand the Bengals a loss that year.

2023 marked year three for the Bengals and they took an even bigger step further with a schedule that included powers from across the South. Lucy Beckham played Lake Norman (N.C.), Cannon (N.C.), Lambert (Ga.), Episcopal School of Dallas (Texas), Ponte Vedra (Fla.), and Bolles (Fla.).

Pulling out the old adage, “to be the best you have to beat the best,” Coach Ferrigan stated that the jump in competition was about giving his team more of a challenge. “We feel like our skillset can compete with some of the top teams across the Southeast and we would much rather go .500 with some really good wins and really bad losses rather than 18-0 against teams we know we can beat.”

Over a two-week stretch, the Bengals recorded wins over Wando, ESD, and Ponte Vedra. It marked the best and most-notable stretch of the season for a squad that entered the postseason with a 10-4 (5-0 region) record and as the No. 2 overall seed in the 4A tournament.

The Bengals dominated the postseason as they won each of their four tournament games by an average margin of 10 goals. That included the Bengals 20-13 defeat of top-seeded Christ Church Episcopal in the state title game to capture the program’s second consecutive championship.

It was a win that Coach Ferrigan said even more special due to the fact that it was the program’s first year with seniors and they were the lower seed. “We felt that we were kind of the underdog in that so being able to go put a 20 piece in the state final really laid our footprint in the state.”

Austin Constable (Binghamton commit) led the way for the Bengals with six goals in the game. Ryan McCarthy (Queens commit) also had four goals on the day. The pair are just two of four DI commits gracing the field for the Bengals who have helped build this program into the budding power it has become. All four of those players are in the class of 2024.

The most notable player on Lucy Beckham’s roster is perhaps defenseman Garrett Coombs (Saint Joseph’s commit), who missed the title game due to injury. Arguably the best player in the Palmetto State, the big defender is rated as a three-star by Inside Lacrosse and continually proved to be one of the better defensemen in the region with his great footwork, speed, and IQ.

Coombs’ older brother, Connor, is a senior who has also been a big part of the Bengals’ defense. He is headed to play his college lacrosse at DII Wingate.

Faceoff man Flynn Wilson (Sacred Heart commit) went over 80% at the faceoff dot this season as has rounded into one of the best and most consistent playmakers at his position in South Carolina and the region as a whole.

In addition to those four DI-bound juniors, goalie Ryan Weis (Adelphi commit) has also displayed considerable growth, development, and talent over the past few seasons. He surpassed 400 career saves this past spring while proving to be a tremendous anchor for the Bengals’ defense.

“They (Coombs, Constable, McCarthy, Wilson, Weis) are incredible kids on and off the field and they had to work very hard to earn a DI or DII scholarship. We have the odds against us not being in a traditional hotbed but to have four players go to DI programs and Ryan Weis going to a top program in DII in Adelphi speaks volumes about the program we have built.”

With two titles in the books and four players already heading to play DI lacrosse in just three seasons, Lucy Beckham has accomplished many things that most high school programs can only dream of. However, Coach Ferrigan says the progress is far from done for the fast-rising program residing in the Charleston suburbs.

“I am trying to get this on a national platform and not just be the best team in South Carolina,” Ferrigan stated. “We are going to continue to do what we have been doing which is to establish a culture and just brick by brick build this thing up. My schedule is already filling up for next year and it is going to be pretty impressive who we have lined up.”


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