Cody and Justin Rentfro are brothers and wrestlers at Hilmar High. But they aren't just your typical athletic bunch, they are California state qualifiers and both are heading to one of the toughest high school wrestling tournaments in the country.
Humble beginnings and an upbringing from a family that showcases what humility truly means, are just some characteristics that define the brothers who are each chasing a dream.
One of those dreams became a reality on Saturday in the Sac-Joaquin Masters Tournament when sophomore Justin qualified to compete at state after his brother Cody achieved that feat the day prior. In all Hilmar qualified five wrestlers.
“We are both doing what we set out to do even before the year started. It’s great to have your brother on a long journey like this,” said Cody. “I just don't want to go in and just be done with the season. I want to be out there and give my brother something to look forward to and set a standard to beat.”
Cody, who is a senior, knows a thing or two about achieving some great things in athletics. Recently he helped lead the 9-2 Yellowjackets football team to a Trans-Valley League title as a running back and led the team in rushing with 1,602 yards.
With football season at an end, it all looked like it was over for Cody since he had taken last season off from wrestling to focus on his senior season of football.
“The only reason I wrestled this year was because my little brother,” said Cody. “And I wanted one more sport for me and might as well do something and not just have five months go down the drain. I mean it benefits both.”
It has benefited his younger brother Justin, who has reached a level he never knew he could achieve at this early stage. Cody and Justin have always pushed one another to be the best that they can be and it eventually led to both becoming state qualifiers.
“If it wasn't for him practicing with me I probably wouldn't be going to state,” said Justin. “I was hoping to go to state, but never thought of going to state with my brother. Being with my brother here is great since we got robbed with football, so this is good, seasons been great.”
Both were part of history as the school won the wrestling program’s first league title since 1979 this past season and won the programs first Division-V Sac-Joaquin Section Championship.
“Honestly looking at last year I thought we wouldn’t be close to team duals or winning since we hadn't done that and when it happened it was great,” said Justin.
Cody went 4-2 at Masters, taking fourth place while Justin went 5-2 and took fifth.
This is also the first time that Hilmar wrestling has ever had a pair of brothers advance into the state tournament.
Starting on Friday, both will be seeking to accomplish what could become a monumental moment for not just themselves, but their community and school.
Last year as a freshman, Justin was two matches away from qualifying for state.
“Wrestling with my brother has helped,” said Justin. “Practices are rough at times since we are always going at it and we each get mad.”
The CIF State Championships will take place from Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield starting at 9 a.m. Friday.