Weighing in at 170 pounds, Josh Larson would be the perfect weight for the 170-pound class at Columbus North.
There’s only one thing standing in the way, however — his older brother, Jake.
With senior Jake Larson firmly entrenched as the Bull Dogs’ 170-pounder this season, Josh, a sophomore, has had to bump up to the 182-pound weight class. As a result, he hasn’t had as much success as Jake.
“I wouldn’t be doing as well (as Jake at 170), but I’d be doing better than I’m doing at 182,” Josh said.
Jake, who sports a 28-16 record, and Josh, who is 14-31, usually face off with each other at practice.
“Sometimes, we get a little mad at each other, but we work each other hard,” Jake said.
The Larsons agree Jake is the more offensive wrestler of the pair.
“He can shoot better and get takedowns easier than I can,” Josh said. “I don’t take shots very much. I’m more defensive.”
“I do take shots a lot more, and he’s pretty good at shot defense,” Jake said.
North coach Nick Skinner, however, sees similar styles.
“They’re both really mistake-driven,” Skinner said. “They capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes a lot. Neither one of them are flashy, but they get the job done. They’re not going to walk out and wow the crowd.”
Saturday, both Larsons will have a chance to extend their seasons when North competes in the Jennings County Sectional. The top four in each weight class advance to the Feb. 7 Jeffersonville Regional.
Jake, a regional qualifier last season, is the No. 4 seed at 170. He lost close regular-season matches to top seed Tanner Young of Madison and No. 2 seed Peyton Gerkin of Jennings County.
“I’m looking to win sectional,” Jake said. “Some of the few losses I have are to the people seeded higher than me, so I feel like I have a good chance of winning it.”
Josh, meanwhile, is unseeded at 182 and has to wrestle top seed Peyton Shepherd of Jennings County.
“I got unlucky, so I have to wrestle the best guy first,” Josh said. “But throughout the season, I’ve been getting better. Odds are against me, but I think I still have a chance.”
“Jake I think can win sectional,” Skinner said. “Josh drew into probably a worst possible scenario for him. Josh’s chances aren’t the best, but he’s a different wrestler now, and I’m hoping to see some improvement, if not a win out of him.”
The Larsons, who also play volleyball for North’s club team in the spring, know their time as sparring partners is nearing an end. While Josh has another two years at North, Jake’s competitive wrestling career is drawing to a close. He is thinking of attending BYU, but probably would not wrestle there.
Skinner said Jake has been one of the team’s leaders throughout the season.
“He’s definitely one of the guys that has stepped up through his actions, not through his words,” Skinner said. “He’s a very quiet kid, but he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He doesn’t complain. He doesn’t talk back.
“They’re both very good boys, raised well,” he said. “They come in, do what you ask them to do and try to do more. That’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
What: Jennings County Sectional wrestling
When 9 a.m. Saturday
Where: Jennings County High School
Teams: Columbus East, Columbus North, Jennings County, Brown County, Seymour, Greensburg, Madison, Scottsburg, Southwestern (Hanover), Switzerland County