Last year, sickness kept Gideon Rollene from reaching his goal of competing in the state wrestling championships.
After qualifying for the district tournament, the Northwood-Kensett junior was hospitalized for a week with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a devastating end to an otherwise dominate season.
Fueled by the disappointment of what could have been and the drive to succeed, his senior campaign to reach state is a sight to behold. Treycen, Gideon's younger brother, couldn't have asked for a better time to begin his high school career.
Able to witness his brother in his prime and his motivated state of mind, what better time than now for Treycen to learn more about the sport as he steps into a higher level of competition.
"I’ve seen the success that he’s had over the years, and I’ve wanted that, too. I’ve seen his hard work put into this sport," Treycen said during practice on Tuesday.
Gideon's work ethic is certainly nothing new to Jordan Reindl, Northwood-Kensett's head wrestling coach.
"I haven’t had a kid that’s worked as hard as he has, and he’s done it since freshman year," he said.
"He’s one of those kids who's not going to do something flashy. He’s going to come in, he’s going to work extremely hard and he’s going to outwork his competition.
"He’s going to stay in shape on and off the mat. He runs miles after practice and he runs miles in the morning. So, for a big guy that’s a big advantage, being able to have a gas tank on you and outwork some of those bigger guys who run out of gas fast.”
The Rollene family, originally from Idaho, started the brothers' path when they were young, each joining a K-8 program when they were of age. Reindl attributes their success to their family, who help train and maintain their diets.
"The family has really bought into that and it makes it a lot easier when you have parents at home and other siblings that are saying 'we're going to go through this with you, it's not just one individual.' So, it helps out having your wrestling family present and a really supportive family at home, too," he said.
Reindl has seen Gideon take on the big brother role and take Treycen under his wing.
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"A lot of times freshman don’t come in with the best work ethic, they haven’t figured out what it takes to move to that level," he said.
"I think that's something that he’s really getting Treycen to understand is that aggressiveness that comes with being in high school."
Reindl said Gideon's investment in the training process helps him be a leader for Treycen.
"If I ask them to run 10 miles, they’ll run 10 miles because coach said it’s good for him. I think that they trust the process and he’s seen how it pays off. You put in your four years of time and it will get you to the next level."
Gideon recognizes the transition his brother must make when entering the high school level, something he learned after struggling his freshman year.
"Freshman year is a tough year going from junior high to high school. This is competition level, so it’s better kids and better expectations," he said.
While the brothers do want each other to succeed, there is always room for a little healthy competition.
"One guy goes and gets a fall and the other one wants to go out and get it faster. There’s just that rivalry between the two of them," Reindl said.
"I think that helps Treycen a lot, trying to live up to what his brother is doing and follow in his footsteps.”
While his own personal ambitions may take up most of his time and attention, Gideon still relishes the opportunity to help his brother.
"I tend to see things that I want to help him on, so it’s been fun helping him and critiquing him on something I see that he can do better."
Ever striving to meet his goal, he isn't above learning a lesson from his younger brother.
"I think he wrestles with a lot of heart, and that’s something that I try to do, too.”