Like most brothers close in age, Jude and Justin Deibel have been rivals all their lives.
But when Justin, then a ninth-grader, joinedhis older brother, Jude, on the wrestling team at North Carroll High, it was mutual support that helped bring both boys great success on the mats.
"Jude really helped me out a lot," Justin said, "He worked with me in the wrestling room, and then we'd go home and wrestle more. He'sbeen somewhat of a role model to me."
Today, Jude, a 19-year-old sophomore at George Mason University in Virginia, enjoys seeing his younger brother have a standout senior year at North Carroll.
"In high school and growing up we were very competitive," Jude said. "Now,it is mostly just talk and friendly gibing. I try to put pressure onhim to be the best he can and give him encouragement."
North Carroll wrestling coach Dick Bauerlein first approached Jude with the idea of wrestling in gym class his freshman year.
Justin, a seventh-grader at the time, also became interested but didn't participate until his freshman year at North Carroll.
"They are very similar in that they both started wrestling in ninth grade and pick things up veryeasily. They are both hard-working and intelligent kids who are veryenthusiastic toward the sport," Bauerlein said.
Jude's gym class recruitment, which took place more than half a decade ago, has paid great dividends for the powerful North Carroll wrestling program.
Jude finished his high school career as a two-time Central Maryland Conference and county champion, a regional title holder and state runner-up in the 119-pound class his senior year.
This season, he is sitting out while commuting two days a week to George Mason from his mother's home. He plans to transfer next year with three years of eligibility remaining.
"I hope to wrestle again next semester, possiblyat Western Maryland College, where I think I'd have a good shot at making the lineup. I didn't think I would miss it as much as I do," Jude said.
Justin, 17, who qualified for the state tournament last year after winning the CMC and county titles, is 16-2 in the 125-pound weight class this season and appears headed back to states.
"Things are going pretty well," Justin said. "The team is looking real good, and I would like to get back to states and, hopefully, reach the finals."
Both credit their parents, who separated some 12 years ago, for much-needed support.
"They are both very supportive, which helps a lot," Jude said. "I don't think Mom has missed a home match yet, and Dad, who is living in Baltimore, gets to most of the more important matches with the video camera."
And while their mother, Barbara, was "not exactly thrilled" when they began wrestling, she says she is proud of her children's accomplishments in sports.
"It's definitely a white-knuckle sport," she said, "I usually try to support them as much as I can. Sports has been really good for them. They've been active in sports since they were little, and both have excelled beyond my expectations."
Along with wrestling, both have played soccer for more than 10 years, and Justin is in his third year of playing lacrosse for North Carroll.
"There is more running (in soccer and lacrosse), and both are more team-oriented. In wrestling, I like the fact that there's an individual aspect along with the team aspect," Justin said.
Jude, too, likes the personal challenges wrestling offers.
"I like the idea of being accountable for my own performance. When you're out on the mat, if you lose it's no one's fault but your own. There are also the rewards of winning on your own," he said.
After graduating from North Carroll, Justin plans to go to college and continue wrestling.
"I have a couple of colleges in mind anddefinitely would like to wrestle," he said.
One of those collegesis Western Maryland.
A family reunion of sorts would seem fitting.