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The Wonder of Twin Power | Sports & Recreation

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The Wonder of Twin Power
The Wonder of Twin Power

By Scott Johnston
scott@tsmsacramento.com

Over the past three decades, the Ponderosa High wrestling team has left plenty of opponents seeing double.

Since 1971, the Bruins, who are currently in the Delta River League, have failed to capture an outright league or conference title only three times, sharing the ’94-’95 Sierra Foothill League title and finishing second twice, once in the Sierra Valley Conference (’07-’08) and once in the Golden Empire League (’80-’81).

This season, the Bruins were the top team in the Delta River League this season, leaving more than a few adversaries seeing double, and in more ways than one.

The 2011 Ponderosa team featured not one, but three sets of twins – seniors Erik and Alex Greybill are identical, while Walker and Tim Ditrich are fraternal; sophomores Jonathan and David Timm, are also identical and round out the group.

Erik, Alex, Walker and Tim are team captains and among the section’s best in their weight classes. Jonathan (119) and David (125) both appear to be next in line to carry the torch. Both earned varsity letters as freshmen.

In his five years coaching at Ponderosa, Soren Murphy, who is a co-head coach with Tyson Escobar, has seen more than his share of talent, but Murphy has never had the opportunity to coach more than one set of multiples.

“With each one of the sets, there seems to be one brother who is slightly more intense than the other,” Murphy said. “One of them always seems to have a little more of a dominant personality, and there’s definitely a lot of sibling rivalry.”

So much so that Murphy is careful to mix the brothers up during practice. He likes intense practices, just not that intense.

“They have a tendency not to practice against each other because I think it could end up at home on the living room floor,” laughed Murphy. “Once in a while, one of the guys will show up with a black eye, but for the most part, they get along, and they support each other more than anyone else on the team.”

Each of the twins agrees that while it’s nice to have a live-in practice partner, certain precautions have to be observed.

“We have a mat at home we practice on,” Alex said. “We’ve had a few fights over the years and most of the time we don’t drill together because it gets too intense. Officially, we’ve been wrestling since the eighth grade, but unofficially, we’ve been wrestling for a long time.”

Alex, who qualified, but did not place at the state meet at 114 pounds last season. As a junior, he compiled a record of 41-14. He finished second at 119 in the recent Masters tournament. After his junior season was cut short by a shoulder injury, Eric came back strong this season, capturing the 114-pound Divisional title, but failed to advance past the Masters tournament.

“Those two have a long list of accomplishments,” Murphy said. “They’ve done it all.”

Although Murphy would argue otherwise, the twins say they have never been able to use Extra Sensory Perception (ESP).

“They both speak for each other,” said Murphy, who has known the Greybills and the Ditrichs since they were in grade school. “They seem to have a weird sense that connects them mentally – that twin thing.”

But none of the twins would go that far.

“We’re always near each other, so we can sometimes finish each other’s thoughts,” Erik said. “But it’s not like we’re telepathic.”

Tim and Walker have a different take on the so-called twin connection.

“He’ll go for a run and make me feel guilty, so I’ll go for a run,” Walker said. “It’s good motivation to see someone else doing it, especially when it’s your twin brother.”

Like the Greybills, Tim and Walker rarely square off on the practice mat.

“We can’t really wrestle each other because we get too physical,” said Tim, who was 38-17 and qualified for the state meet as a junior. “We’ve been wrestling since the fourth grade and we’ll fool around together and work on techniques and moves in the living room, but we don’t really go at it. It would get way too rough.”

Walker finished his junior campaign 32-17, won the DRL meet this season and was second at the Divisional tournament at 137-pounds. Tim captured the DRL’s 127-pound title, was third at Divisional meet and seventh at the Masters.

As the Bruins continue to pile up the wins, it appears one of Murphy’s most pressing issues could be telling one twin from the other.

“Mix-ups happen,” laughed Murphy. “I’ll be yelling at one kid when I meant to yell at the other. It can be a problem.”

But it’s a nice problem to have.

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