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Former All-American wrestler Lister touted as hero

First-year Ohio state trooper honored for saving life of a dispatcher on May 12

June 19, 2013

Former All-American wrestler Lister touted as hero

Article on Lister's heroics

Contact: John Hartrick (

VESTAL, N.Y.—After an accomplished wrestling career that included All-America honors, former Binghamton student-athlete Justin Lister has wasted no time in asserting himself in his professional career. Lister, a first-year state trooper in Ohio, has received a Certificate of Recognition by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for saving the life of a dispatcher.

Lister, 24, who graduated in spring 2012, was honored in a ceremony on Tuesday, five weeks after his quick thinking and action saved the life of dispatcher Chelsea Saylor, 25. On May 12 in Sandusky, Ohio, Saylor was on her lunch break and began choking on her food. Lister noticed and immediately administered the Heimlich maneuver.

“She made a kind of hiccuping noise, and I knew it wasn’t good,” Lister told reporter John Behm of the Reporter Journal. “Once she knew she couldn’t breathe at all, she kind of flailed and I gave her the Heimlich,” he said.

After three or four good compressions, Lister was able to clear the food that was blocking Saylor’s breathing.

“She was a bit shook up following the ordeal,” Lister said.  “I just sat there with her and did my best to make her feel better and calm her down.”

Lister said that he acted on his instincts.

Those instincts and leadership were honed on the BU wrestling mats, where Lister served as the backbone of a wrestling program that forged unprecedented national success during his tenure. He was a four-time letterwinner, All-American, three-time NCAA qualifier and three-time conference champion during his collegiate career. Lister made history as a sophomore by becoming the first BU wrestler to advance to the national semifinals. He won 105 career matches — one of just four wrestlers in the program’s first 42 years to reach the century milestone. He won seven career matches at the NCAA Championship, highlighted by his two shocking pins and fourth-place national finish as an unseeded wrestler in 2010. His 38 career pins ranks second all-time - the final of which came in front of an Events Center crowd in the finals of the Colonial Athletic Association Championship.

Off the mat, Lister was a CAA and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll member for his stellar academic achievement.

Lister joined the Ohio highway patrol in November as a member of the 154th Academy Class. He received his commission in April and was assigned to the Elyria Post.

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