Just before he faced his final opponent at last week’s Bulldog Classic, Pitman High senior Andrew Perez was approached on the wrestling mat by his older brother, Vincent, who whispered something in his ear.
Andrew then did the rest. He went on to capture another tournament title before being congratulated by Vincent.
The Perez brothers have a unique relationship, considering both are on the Pitman wrestling team. Andrew is a final-year wrestler, while Vincent is one of the team’s assistant coaches.
They’ve wrestled together for most of their lives. Vincent grapples with his little brother in practice, showing him all the things he learned when he was a Pitman wrestler, one who finished his career with two state medals.
Vincent will be with his little brother during one of the season’s biggest tests, the Doc Buchanan Invitational at Clovis High. It’s a two-day event that begins Friday at 9 a.m.
“When I’m in his corner and he’s out there, everybody screaming at him, out of everybody that’s screaming, I think he hears my voice the most,” said Vincent, who’s been part of Adam Vasconcellos’ coaching staff for the past three seasons. “He hears what I’m saying and he listens. I can see that when he’s wrestling on the mat.”
Even with the respect he has for his brother, Andrew wants to top his brother’s achievements.
Andrew captured eighth place at 135 pounds in last season’s CIF State Tournament, and he has aspirations to top that performance. He also wouldn’t mind surpassing his brother’s best finish while he was at Pitman, a fifth-place medal at 103 pounds in 2008.
“He’s good to have in my corner,” Andrew said of his brother. “He knows me better than any of my coaches. He helps me in practice. He’s a lot smaller than me, but he works with me on what I need to work on. He pushes me to do the best I can because it’s my last year.”
Vincent encourages his brother to best his fifth-place state finish.
“I want him to exceed my expectations and try to get a little better than that, do better than what I did,” the elder Perez noted. “I want him to surpass me because I know I did my job as a coach.”
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