Tyrell and Trey Andrews have had incredible training partners over the years.
No accomplished wrestler ever goes without multiple partners to drive them, teach them and downright push them to the edge between frustrated and physical confrontation. It was no different for the Safford (Ariz.)
brothers in the school's wrestling room.
The practice area is what you would expect from a rural mining and cotton town. No frills and just enough room to create state champions who are willing to log long hours.
It is outside of the wrestling room and inside the living room of the family home that pushed these brothers to a total of six state titles, including the last four years by Trey, who became the 28th wrestler to do so in Arizona history on Friday at Tim's Toyota Center.
They had mom and her fingernails.
"Joann would drill with them," said their father and coach, Herman, a born and raised Safford native. "We'd clear out the furniture so I could coach them and we needed someone for them to do the work with. She would let them go so far then she would dig her fingernails into to their armpits to get them off, mostly with Tyrell, but she was a champ."
They all are.
Herman was an accomplished wrestler himself before leading the program to six state titles until it ended this year, Tyrell graduated in 2008 with two titles of his own and Trey is the school's first four-time champion, finishing with a career record of 203-12.
Joann might not have a career record but she clearly had a hand in it all. And she was one of her son's toughest training partners.
"She is up there," said Trey. "I guess it is a pretty (unique) situation, but she did what she could for us. I love what she did for us."
Tyrell, who is an assistant coach with the Bulldogs, recalls those days with a wry smile and a shake of his head.
"We broke a lot of furniture," said Tyrell, who wrestled in the upper weights. "I used to (drill) with Trey but I got too big, but she was always there for both us. It was crazy."
That chapter has come to a close after Trey finished up his fantastic career over the weekend. Herman was more emotional, pumping his fist and shedding tears like one of his wrestlers does pounds, when talking about Trey's career.
There have been some tough decisions along the way – making Trey to quit football in the final weeks to preserve his health for the wrestling season and potential college years – that had the father more invested than ever.
Trey, who has done well at the national stage and should get a late scholarship offer, has always been the small one who has been through wars in the practice room against an amazing run of lightweights at Safford like three-time champion Ryak Finch, two-time champ Greg Ornelas and three-time champ Sage Ornelas.
"My son has been undersized his whole life and my oldest boy is a monster," Andrews said, pausing before continuing on. "The drive on this kid is unreal. He had asthma issues but he overcame it. He said this is what he wanted to do and now he is a four-timer."
And in part because of good old mom.
"I have to give her credit and I am surprised she don't have cauliflower ear," the loyal husband gushed. "Ever since my boys were coming up, they cleared everything out of the living room and she had to be the mom who wrestled."
Something Trey will never forget.
"It means a lot to (win the fourth)," he said. "I'm still in disbelief and it came by so fast. Just to know the whole family is on board makes it even sweeter."Jason P. Skoda, a former Arizona Republic and current Ahwatukee Foothill News staff writer, is a 15-year sports writing veteran. Contact him at email@example.com or 480-272-2449.