By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – The plan was always for Bryce and Drew West to wrestle together.
Through their high school careers the twin brothers followed that plan to perfection while becoming two of the top wrestlers in the state.
When it came to making a decision on their collegiate wrestling future the brothers were prepared to deviate from the plan if it was the right move.
After a visit to Northern Illinois earlier this month the Solon seniors decided to stick to the plan, giving verbal commitments to join the Huskies next fall.
“We always wanted to wrestle together but we knew if we didn’t end up together it would be o.k.,” Drew West said. “Knowing that I’m going to have someone on my side and someone to push me other than the coaches in college is a great feeling.”
Both four-time state medalists, the brothers combined to post a 418-7 career record with four state titles.
The duo put the finishing touches on two of best prep careers in state history by leading Solon to the Class 2A state team title last month.
Bryce won his third state title this season, claiming the 2A 120-pound title while Drew was second at 126 pounds to help Solon win the first team title in program history.
“I think that going together was their goal and they wanted to end up somewhere together, they are pretty close and they have wrestled each other their whole lives,” Solon coach Blake Williams said. “I think that was a good thing for them.”
The brothers visited Boise State before taking a trip to Northern Illinois.
Ultimately it came down to those two schools.
“We liked both places but at Northern Illinois it felt like a family and they are on the rise,” Bryce West said. “Northern Illinois just stuck out a little more.”
Northern Illinois is coming off a record breaking season in which it sent five wrestlers to the NCAA Wrestling Championships and scored a program-best 11.5 points to finish in 30th place.
The West brothers hope to help continue that climb.
“We planned on going to college together but if we split up we split up,” Bryce West said. “We ended up going together and that’s great because we always have each other’s backs and we will be there to still push each other.”
Bryce West capped his career going 57-1 as a senior and winning a third consecutive state title this season.
He finished his career with a 210-3 record to match Max Thomsen of Union for the most wins in state history.
Ranked as the eighth best 120-pounder in the country by Intermat, Bryce West compiled a 162-1 record over the past three seasons, his only loss during that span coming to three-time undefeated state champion Brody Teske of Fort Dodge.
Drew West finished his career with a 208-4 career record one state title and a pair of runner-up finishes.
Neither Bryce or Drew finished lower than third at the state meet.
“I think they are going to be great college wrestlers,” Williams said. “I think they have a high ceiling and I think Northern Illinois is a good fit for them. They are lucky to grab two great wrestlers in Bryce and Drew but also great kids.”
Both Bryce and Drew plan to redshirt next season and compete at open events at 125 pounds while they adjust to college.
After that they will look at the possibility of one moving up a weight class to 133 pounds.
“We want to get there and wrestle 125 in the opens and try to get our confidence up against college guys because college is basically wrestling a state champion every match,” Drew West said. “After that redshirt year we will look more at that.”