Just glancing at Wisconsin wrestlers Jordan and Josh Crass can give one the feeling of experiencing double vision.
The two are identical twins, and more than look the part.
Remarkably enough, they make up only one pair of brothers on the 2005-06 Badger wrestling team. Veteran siblings Tyler and Tony Turner are completing their junior and senior seasons.
However, the Crass' storied prep careers set them apart from most brother duos.
Jordan and Josh were two of the most highly touted wrestling recruits before the 2004-05 wrestling season. In their final three seasons of high school, the two combined to post a perfect 280-0 record, each winning three state titles along the way. When it came time for recruitment, Wisconsin head coach Barry Davis knew it was a package deal when luring the Medford, Wis., natives.
"Anytime you recruit twins you can expect it to be [an] all or nothing deal," Davis said. "We've had a couple pairs of twins before but you know you're not going to be able to split them up."
And why would Davis want to split them up? Jordan and Josh have been practicing together since they were eight years old and have dominated all levels of competition. In terms of intensity and ability, both represent two of the most talented wrestlers on Wisconsin's roster. Although both of their roles are still a work in progress this season, Davis sees no reason why they should not fulfill their potential.
"They're aggressive, they go hard and you've got to love that. They've still got to work on some skill work and play at the same pace, but with a little more control," Davis said. "They're still young and they're still learning, but they're making headway and I see good things for the both of them in the future."
Josh, who is currently working at the 133-pound weight class, earned his spot in the UW lineup in the squad's wrestle-offs more than two weeks ago. While that position was all but filled prior to the season, All-American and nationally ranked wrestler Tom Clum remains sidelined with a wrist injury. While no exact timetable has been determined for Clum's return, Crass is intent on making the most of his unexpected opportunity.
"I know this was supposed to be [Clum's] spot to start the year, but he's out and I plan to make the most of this opportunity," Josh Crass said. "I'm enjoying being the starter right now and I'm just trying to make a name for my self out their before me and Tom [Clum] have another wrestle off."
Jordan, who is currently slated at the 141-pound weight class, is a little deeper in the depth chart than his brother Josh, as seniors Ed Gutnik and Tony Turner currently wrestle at the same weight. Last season, a year in which Jordan redshirted, he participated in the Stevens Point open and the Missouri open, where he took home first and fourth places, respectively.
As for competing alongside each other, both Jordan and Josh wouldn't have it any other way. Both maintain they are at their best with the other wrestling at their side and look to each other for motivation and inspiration. Last season, with Josh suffering from a knee injury, Jordan found himself without his wrestling partner for the first time in years.
"It's something I really enjoy when we're able to compete with each other," Jordan said. "Last year [Josh] was out the whole season and I was out of my element. Just not having anybody to train with makes it real awkward, but now that he's back it's easy to get the ball rolling again."
While both Jordan and Josh embrace a team-first mentality, they are still twin brothers — making competition somewhat unavoidable. On the mats, both bring their best against each other, but low-scoring matches generally result, as both know each other's moves almost instinctively.
Regardless of that competitive nature and aggressive wrestling style, both Jordan and Josh feed off each other in a way perhaps only twin brothers can. While taking pride in each other's successes and always feeling the need to set a new bar, the Crass brothers have a formula for success that has worked thus far.
"We've always believed that success breeds success," Josh said.