As twins, Northwestern High School juniors Devin and Connor Rogers share certain characteristics.
They are both ultra competitive, especially against each other. They keep their mother busy with the laundry. And, as Warriors’ wrestlers, both enter the Division II district tournament as sectional champions.
Northwestern coach Harry Husted said it’s been awhile since the Warriors had a pair of sectional champions in the same season. Devin (33-5) won the 126-pound weight class in the Tippecanoe 2 sectional bracket. Connor (26-6) won the 152-pound class in the Tipp 2 sectional.
It’s no surprise the twins ended Northwestern’s multi-champ drought in their effort to keep up with each other. And starting today they share another goal — to become state qualifiers. Both compete in the D-II district tournament at Bowling Green today and Saturday.
Even with their similarities, the brothers have characteristics that are as contrasting as their wrestling styles.
Devin is 5-foot-6. Connor is 5-11 and weighs about 40 pounds more.
Devin eats a typical teen diet. Connor eats kale and spinach.
Even their birthdays are different. Devin was born at 11:30 p.m. on March 3. Connor arrived two hours later on March 4.
“He loves it,” Connor said of Devin being older. “I don’t love it as much because he likes to wake me up (to remind me on his birthday).”
Added Devin: “I use the old trick that I’m older than he is. Sometimes I sleep in because I forget (to remind him). It’s nice to have different birthdays to celebrate.”
They hope to share in celebration after Saturday’s finals. Neither has qualified for state, something older brother Brandon did in 2013. If their high school practice sessions are any indication, they are ready. Husted, Northwestern’s coach, said the brothers are banned from being wrestling partners unless necessary, such as practicing for district.
“They weren’t allowed to go full go with each other until this week,” Husted said. “We have to break them apart. They get pretty intense. Neither one enjoys losing, which is part of the reason they are as successful as they are.”
It’s not so much the competition that frustrates the brothers as their wrestling styles. Connor likes to push down on Devin’s head with his longer reach preventing the quicker Devin from shooting in on Connor.
“We wrestled a ton our sophomore year when we were drill partners. It was just awful,” Devin said. “Our styles, plus he’s bigger than me, they don’t match up. We don’t like wrestling each other.”
Devin and Brandon — now wrestling at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky — took up wrestling first, then chided Connor to give up basketball for the sport. Devin admits there might have been some brotherly bullying involved. Once in the sport, Connor, just like his brothers, was hooked.
“That really, really pushed me. It stinks when you’re the really bad one,” Connor said of rushing his learning curve.
A wrestling mat in the barn helps preserve the sanity at home. Well, as much as it can for their mother, Andrea, grappling with raising three teen boys.
“Yes, I feel very sorry for her,” Connor said. “She’s very angry sometimes with the fighting, the messes, the empty refrigerator and what not.”
But just like the boys, Andrea is in it to win it. Both Connor and Devin credit their mother for their success thanks to wrestling camps, summer tournaments and, yes, that fridge (usually) full of food. It’s a sharp contrast with what Devin and Connor fill it with. Connor started eating organic as a freshman to lose weight. It turned into his normal diet, even going so far as to pack six small meals a day that he carries around in a lunchbox.
As for Devin he too tried kale. Once.
“I always describe to people when they ask about kale, it’s like going out to the woods and just grabbing a plant out of the ground and munching on it,” Devin said. “I don’t think it tastes good at all. … I think it’s helped him out a lot. He likes it.”
Band of brothers
Of the three brothers, Connor calls Devin the best pound-for-pound. Devin, knowing how competitive things can get, declined to accept that family honor. And with good reason.
“I’m not going to answer that question just for the sake of everyone,” Devin said with a laugh. “If my brother in Kentucky found out about that he might come home and have a match. We don’t want that. Connor works hard and he’s a great wrestler. He’s close to where I am, if not there.”
Added coach Husted: “I don’t even think they can play checkers together at this point. We joke that we’d like to see what it’s like at Thanksgiving for the last scoop of stuffing. I’m sure it turns into an all-out brawl. As a coach, they’ve been enjoyable to watch go after it. That’s what you want in your wrestling room to be successful.”
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