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Alton twins seek wrestling success side by side

Alton twins seek wrestling success side by side
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

There is a tradition within wrestling of amazingly tough twin brother combinations. Think of the Brands brothers, the Scherr brothers, the Banach brothers, the Steiner brothers, the Purler brothers, the Hughes brothers, the Keller brothers, the Paulson brothers, the Bonomo brothers. Wrestling fans can come up with many more. All were twins, and all were very successful side by side.

There is a new brother combination in USA Wrestling’s age-group national programs, the Alton twins of Pennsylvania, Andrew and Dylan.

Wrestling fans remember the Alton twins from Fargo, N.D. last summer, when they both Cadet National freestyle titles side by side, Dylan at 130 pounds and Andrew at 135 pounds. Andrew was also a Cadet National Greco-Roman champion, with Dylan placing second.

This weekend, Dylan enters the event as the top seed in the FILA Junior World Team Trials at 60 kg/132 lbs., after winning the FILA Junior Nationals in Las Vegas in April. Andrew was entered in the Challenge Tournament portion of the FILA Juniors on Saturday morning.

The Alton brothers, who started wrestling at the age of six together, won’t wrestle each other. Their father Neil Alton said that they have not wrestled for a reason. In the practice room, the training tends to go after practice. The brothers don’t want to stop because both want to score the last takedown.

“When they were little, they would argue who was better. If they’d wrestle a match, one would win and it would hurt the other. They are so close, yet so competitive. We would come back home, there would be holes in the wall and blood on the wall. They were always wrestling,? said Neil.

The brothers admit that competing in a match may not be a great idea, especially with the way that they train together.

“We get into brawls sometimes. We get into fights about who is winning and who is not. We get at it,? said Dylan.

“We go hard in the room,? said Andrew. “We get at each other. Sometimes it is anger, but it is mostly being competitive.?

Earlier this year, at the FILA Cadet Nationals in Akron, Ohio, the Alton brothers made the finals in freestyle at 138.75 pounds and decided to be co-champions under the USA Wrestling age-group brother rule. The regulation was approved by USA Wrestling at the time that two other Pennsylvania twins were regularly banging heads at the same weight, John and Russ Hughes. Dylan was pleased with the co-champion rule.

“That was very nice. That would have gone to a coin flip if we had to choose. That made it a lot easier. We didn’t have to decide,? said Dylan.

The Alton twins were high school sophomores this season. Dylan won the state title this year for Central Mountain High School, the first Pennsylvania champion ever for the school, something that Neil said “was a big deal? at the school. Andrew placed third for the second straight year. Both of the brothers talk to each other and visualize winning state and national titles side-by-side.

“We are both training hard this summer for next year,? said Andrew. “Hopefully, there won’t be any upsets next year.?

“It would be nice to win at the same time,? said Dylan. “Sometimes we come up a little short. We will work harder next year so we both have the same result.?

Neil indicated that the brothers decide for themselves who will go which weight class during the regular season and in the summer events.

Currently, Andrew competes up in weight, while Dylan goes down. According to their dad, at their natural weight, Andrew is a few pounds heavier than Dylan. When they were little, it was the other way around, with Dylan at the higher class and Andrew down in weight. At this time, Andrew is a little stronger in the weight room.