When cousins Blake Bishop and Masen Brown played against each other in the Grid Kids Division D championships in 2002, their grandpa, Dick Brown, cut two sweatshirts in half, then sewed half of each one together to equally support his grandsons.
No telling what grandpa will do today when Bishop and Brown seniors at Chiawana High School both take to the mat at 152 pounds at the Mid-Columbia Conference 4A district tournament at Richland High School.
My parents were OK with it, but my grandparents werent too happy with us, Bishop said.
Added Brown: They obviously dont want us to compete against each other for something this important. Either way, win or lose, we will hug, shake hands and continue wrestling.
The tournament begins at 10 a.m., with the finals slated for 4:30 p.m. The top three advance to regionals Feb. 15 at Pasco High School.
Brown competed at 145 pounds this season with a 16-9 record, and Bishop at 160 with a 16-4 mark, but in hopes of advancing to state and earning points for their team, they decided to meet in the middle.
We thought it was a great idea, but we left it up to the kids, said Chiawana coach Jack Anderson. Blake had already decided to go down, and with Masen at 145, he decided to go up 145 in our region is stacked. Its the toughest weight class in our region.
This the best opportunity for them both to do well. At the state tournament, that weight class was a good option for both of them. We hope they are both in the district finals.
Theres a high probability of that happening. Bishop is seeded No. 1 and is on the upper half of the eight-man bracket. Brown is seeded third and is on the bottom half of the bracket.
The only way we wrestle each other is in the finals or for third place, Bishop said. I think it will be different, but it will be fun, especially if we both make the finals.
Weve been really close since we were babies, Brown said. Competing against him wont be weird, it will be kind of fun. It might make us compete a little harder for family bragging rights. Last time we competed against one another was Grid Kids.
Where Browns Colts topped Bishops Rams.
Brown hasnt played football for a few years, but Bishop caught a game-tying touchdown pass in the 4A state championship game that helped the Riverhawks rally to beat Camas 27-26.
He does his own thing, but I stayed with football, Bishop said. I love football.
The one big difference between the two wrestlers, is that Brown moved up a weight and Bishop went down eight pounds, which means sacrifice and will power.
Masen has always been lighter than me, but I decided to go to 152 because I dont have to bulk up for football anymore, said Bishop, who noted that dinner Thursday night was chicken and spinach. At 160, I didnt need to cut any weight, but now, Im going on a run every night.
Brown had to watch his food intake at 145, but at 152, hes fat and happy.
He has a special diet and Im having pasta and lean meat, Brown said. I havent changed my diet much, I just get to eat more.
With all of the female wrestlers lumped into one division for district, regionals and state, they had to have two venues for this weekends district tournament.
Host Richland will remain at home with teams from Chiawana, Pasco, Yakima, Ellensburg and most every small school in between. Toss in Kiona-Benton and Grandview, and there will be 115 girls from 21 different schools trying to earn a top-four placing for next weeks regional tournament at Warden.
The remaining teams, including those from the Tri-Cities, will be at East Valley in Spokane today. Again, the top four will advance.
Wrestlers to watch are Brittnee Cook of Ki-Be, ranked No. 2 at 100 pounds, Marizza Birrueta of Grandview (No. 1) and Richlands Tamika Pierce (No. 3) at 106, Viannei Perez of Grandview (No. 1) at 112, Chiawanas Marylou Martinez (No. 2) at 118, Desiree Zavala of Grandview (No. 1) at 130 and Sunnysides Jessica Cardenas (No. 1) at 170.