The Hicks brothers have this one year to wrestle together as high school teammates chasing provincial championships.
Cam, in Grade 12, is the best male grappler ever to wrestle for the Maple Ridge Ramblers.
Ryan, in Grade 8, is grabbing the torch.
Both will be out to qualify for the provincial championships as the Ramblers host the Upper Fraser Valley Championships at the MRSS gymnasium on Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Cam was a provincial champion in Grade 8, winning the 38-kg weight class by beating a Grade 10 opponent in the championship match.
In Grade 9, he had a great year, finishing second in B.C. at 41 kg, then moving on to the nationals in Saskatoon and winning a bronze medal. That year he also competed at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que. and won silver.
In his Grade 10 year, he won the provincials at 45 kg, and then last year he took third at the provincials.
Last year, he had an injured shoulder going into the tournament, and he had cut weight to make his class.
“I didn’t present the best I could have,” he said.
But by medalling in his first four years at the provincial level, including two gold medals, Cam’s accomplishments are unsurpassed, according to his coach.
“He’s the best male wrestler to ever come through here,” said Bill McCrae. “He should medal five times. And he’s our leader.”
So the coach is expecting big things from little brother.
“It’s in his genes – he will be good.”
Ryan is off to a great start in his career. His biggest win so far was the B.C. Age Class tournament in Richmond last month, where he took gold in the 48-kg class.
The typical Cam Hicks win is 10-0 by technical superiority. He doesn’t have any signature moves, he says.
“You have to adapt to your opponent, and adjust to what’s in front of you,” he said.
Ryan is gritty and determined.
“I try to outwork my opponents,” he said. “I try to be mean.”
From McCrae’s perspective, comparing the two as Grade 8s, Ryan is a polished wrestler for his age, thanks in large part to his big brother’s tutelage, while Cam started off as a brawler.
Last weekend, Cam was at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and he is planning trips to the University of Calgary and University of Winnipeg. There are no full-ride athletic scholarships for wrestlers in Canada, but he is being offered five years tuition, and plans to study criminology.
He has become the scholar-athlete he wanted to be. The goal of attending university as a wrestler has been accomplished. What’s left is a big sendoff to his high school career – a gold medal at the nationals in Calgary in April.
“And I’d like to wrestle well and win at university,” he said. “And then come back and help here.”
Ryan has been loving his first year of high school wrestling. He has played soccer and other sports, but says “I’ve never been so close to my teammates.”
Cam said that’s typical for wrestlers.
“It’s such a grind – it helps bring everyone together, because it is so tough.”
For Ryan, the goal is to finish in the medals at the provincials.
“Of course, I’m shooting for gold, but anywhere in the top three and I would be happy.
In his Grade 9 year, he would like to quality for the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg. His big brother wants that for Ryan too.
“That’s a really good experience – it’s like a mini Olympics.”
Cam has been the team captain for Ramblers wrestling, and as he graduates the team is in good shape. He sees big things for Ryan.
“It’s been awesome having your brother as a training partner, and I’m so lucky to have a training partner with his skills and accomplishments,” said Ryan. “I wouldn’t be half the wrestler I am today without him.”