Panthers' Kilers make a winning team Brothers push each other to excel on wrestling mat

February 25, 1993|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Andy Kiler, the 130-pound wrestler for North Carroll, said he often doesn't wrestle the Panthers' 125-pound competitor in practice because that battle sometimes disintegrates into a fight.

In other words, they behave just like any other brothers.

Andy Kiler, a senior, is in his second year in the starting lineup for No. 2 North Carroll. Tommy Kiler, a freshman, broke into the starting lineup with a bang this year, and the two helped the Panthers go undefeated in the regular season.

Both found plenty of success, combining for a 38-4 record during the regular season.

The younger Kiler was 22-1 and won the county championship. Andy Kiler won 16 of 19 during the season and was ranked in the state at one point early in the season. He missed the county tournament because of the flu.

Andy Kiler said his younger brother forces him to work harder to keep improving.

"It pushes me a lot . . . just to do better," said Andy. "He pushes me himself."

Said North Carroll coach Dick Bauerlein: "They're both competitors."

Tommy said wrestling is the No. 1 topic of conversation between he and his brother, who, despite their three-year age difference, often stick together.

"They both care about each other," said Bauerlein. "The brothers are pretty close."

Tommy often depends on his brother for help off the mat and on. If there's a situation that he wants information on, he'll talk to Andy.

Also, if he needs a boost, he turns to his older brother.

"Whenever I lose or something, he's always there to pick me up," said Tommy. "He also helps me in practice."

The pair try to pump up each other before their matches. And, after Tommy finishes his match, he watches Andy on the mat and yells encouragement -- as does Andy for him.

Andy seems to try to watch over his younger brother. Andy also seems to have more confidence in Tommy's ability, at times, than his brother does.

Tommy said his goal for this season was just to make the starting lineup, have a winning record and qualify for the state tournament. He appears to have easily made those goals.

Big brother was expecting it.

"[I'm] not surprised," said Andy. "He always seems to do pretty well."

Both have done pretty well. And both have been wrestling a long time.

Each of the Kiler brothers began wrestling at age 5. Their father coaches recreation league wrestling and got them interested in the sport.

Tommy did not love wrestling at first. In fact, he often fell asleep during the recreation group's practice.

As time went on, though, he improved, as did his brother. Tommy won the recreation wrestling state championship last year. Two years ago, his brother took second in the state in recreation wrestling.

Andy broke into the North Carroll starting lineup last year. He went 23-7-2, took third in the region, first in the Central Maryland Conference and second in the county. He also won one match in the state tournament.

This year, Randy Owings of Francis Scott Key has been his biggest problem. Owings topped him twice, 3-2 and 3-1. Last year, Owings beat him, 1-0, and they battled to a score less tie in another match.

The brothers hope to make the state tournament this year. Andy wants to improve on last year's performance, and Tommy simply hopes to win some matches.

Tommy is rooting for his brother to have a big tournament. He said because Andy is a senior, he's pushing hard for him.

Andy, however, wants -- and thinks -- both can be successful.

"I just hope we both do our best," said Andy. "If we both do our best, we should do pretty well."

That would be perfect for Tommy.

"Hopefully, I'll be there with him," he said. "That'll be extra nice."

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