As we did earlier this week we will be getting to know one of Iowa’s, and the nation’s, Cadet World Team qualifiers. Earlier we got to know Lisbon’s Carter Happel, and if you haven’t read about him, I would ask that you please take the time to do so.

This week we not only getting to meet one of Iowa’s high school brightest stars, but we can also get to know his twin brother. Yes, Drew and Bryce West of Highland Riverside are two of a very long line and very successful twin brothers taking Iowa by storm.

Of course you know the two most famous twins from Iowa. They are the current head and assistant coaches of the Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling program. Tom Brands, was a four time All-American for Iowa before going on to win the Olympic Gold medal in Atlanta. His brother Terry was an Olympic Bronze medalist and spent some time as Team USA’s freestyle coach before joining his brother at Iowa on the coaching staff.

The Brands twins really set the standard for Iowa twins, but the West boys are looking to make their mark. Only just freshmen last year Drew and Bryce had established themselves as one of the best wrestlers in their weight class with Drew ranked #1 at 106 lbs and Bryce #1 at 113 lbs. Oddly enough the two wrestlers ranked #2 were also twins Justin and Josh Portillo. If anything the fact that a rivalry could be forming among two sets of twins is exciting for Iowa high school wrestling.

Drew downed Justin Portillo in the finals with a 6-5 victory to capture his first state title while Bryce fell to Josh in the quarterfinals, and pinned his way through the consolation bracket to place third.  While the ending wasn’t exactly what the West family was hoping for, Drew and Bryce’s parents had some nice things to say about their son’s success, “When they first started wrestling they didn’t have a lot of success. Then they realized that they would need to work a lot harder to accomplish their goals. They have set great goals to accomplish, and as parents we always believed and told them they were the best at what they do. They just needed to believe it themselves.”

When asked what their goals that the West brothers had set for themselves Drew said, “I want to be a four time state champion and win the Olympics.” Bryce talked about his summer goals, “For the rest of the summer I am going to practice for Nationals in Fargo and I want to win my bracket.”

The Cadet National tournament in Ohio featured Greco-Roman in addition to freestyle. It  was in Greco that Drew displayed his elite skill winning his bracket at 50 KG to be USA’s World Team representative. “It feels really good to represent the USA at Worlds and my community.” Drew said, “Thanks to the support to everyone that has got me to where I am now.”

His brother Bryce, who only competed in freestyle, didn’t see his brother winning the title as the accomplishment, “His accomplishment was that he wrestled really good.” Which to me shows that these two young men will only be satisfied not if they win, but if they do it while wrestling at their best. This is a quality that makes Tony Ramos and Brent Metcalf so special, that they are not satisfied with winning, unless they win the right way.

The West twins also competed in freestyle with Bryce finishing 5th over his brother Drew. With their mentality that only wrestling at their best is the way to achieve their goals Bryce said, “[The loss] motivated me by wanting to work out more and work harder to achieve [a championship] next year.” What better way to work on getting better than just being able to tap your brother on the shoulder and ask him if he wants to go drill. “It’s good being on the same team as Drew because I always have a practice partner, and someone to push me through the workouts.”

“I like to train with my brother because I always have someone to train with and he pushes me to be the best.” said Drew. It also helps that they also workout with a really good wrestling club, the Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club. One that features Carter Happel, and is coached by (among others) Iowa great Joe Slaton, “They have ALOT of similarities. Obviously since they are twins, but they’re wrestling is very different.” Slaton said, “They are competitors and they competed hard in Akron. They are good kids who listen and work hard. They are goofy kids off the mat. I love it!”

The West family also have a Go Fund Me site, and much like the support fans have been showing the Happel family, it would be good to show the West family the same support. “Over the course of all the work we have put into wrestling our family has met a lot of great families. We have learned that it is not all about winning, but how much they love the sport. We have grown close as a family due to all of the traveling over the years and it is a blessing to see them achieve their goals.” Darren and Becky West said. What better way to help the West brothers continue to achieve their goals then to visit this and contribute to such a great cause.

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

7 thoughts on “Getting to Know World Team Member Drew West”
  1. […] The lightest Iowan competing will be Drew West at 50 KG. Drew won his first state title for Highland-Riverside this past February with a 6-1 decision over Justin Portillo in the finals. Traveling to Akron, Ohio for the Cadet National championships West took 6th behind his brother Bryce in the freestyle competition, but with a three technical fall performance (the other win being 7-0) Drew qualified to wrestle in Slovakia. If you want to read more about the West brothers you can do so here. […]

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