LYONS -- Most people believe Jon and Will Hickman are brothers, but hardly anyone believes them when they reveal that they are twins.
Separated by eight weight classes between theirs, the two freshmen hardly look like brothers, much less twins. But as little as they resemble one another physically, Will and Jon Hickman share a similar drive that has them off to impressive starts early in their prep careers.
Jon Hickman (3-2) is ranked eighth in Class 2A at 170 pounds and Will Hickman (5-4) is ranked 10th in 2A at 106 pounds. They wrestle at extreme ends of the wrestling spectrum but the two are rarely spotted without the other and help push one another to greater heights all year round.
"When I come in, he's always in because we always come in together," Will Hickman said. "So, there's always two of us in here all year if we're here."
At age 5, Will, who was born an hour before his brother, and Jon were roughly the same size. By seventh grade, Jon had grown to twice his brother's size. When they came in for their high school sports physicals, the doctor told their father Bill Hickman that Will is in the bottom five percent of his growth chart and Jon is in the top five of his.
"It's about as huge a different in size as you can get," Bill Hickman said.
At 5-8 and averaging 165 pounds, Jon Hickman is undersized for his weight class. His 5-foot brother, who routinely weighs in at 95 pounds, is much more undersized at his.
"Most guys have 10 to 12 pounds on me so most of the matches are a little harder than if I had those 10 pounds," Will Hickman said. "I just move a lot more and I don't use as much strength because most guys are stronger than me, which comes along with that weight."
Through a cerebral approach, mental toughness and practice, both Hickman twins have learned to overcome their size deficits. In Jon's case, his is more an issue of height and length.
"I figured out how to wrestle in a more mental way," Jon Hickman said. "They're all a little bit taller than me and I found out how to wrestle tall guys when I was in eighth grade. You just gotta work on one part of the body at a time."
Although they're different sizes, Lyons head coach Chip Sullivan said both Hickmans are strong for their own bodies. Their greatest strength, he said, is their natural ability to wrestle to the right side of the body as effectively as the left.
Ninety percent of the time when Sullivan needs something demonstrated during practice, he chooses Will or Jon because he said they prepare to do it correctly and don't cut corners.
Jon started wrestling in sixth grade and Will joined him in seventh grade. Both made it to state that year. Two of the youngest members of an already young Lions group, Will and Jon have already grown accustomed to a quiet leadership style. Together they captained the Lyons middle school team that went undefeated last season.
Each cited having a brother around to train with year-round as one of his greatest assets, along with Sullivan and former Colorado Buffaloes coach Linn Long, who is an assistant coach for the Lions this season.
Sullivan said he can't keep them out of Burt Stringer Memorial Wrestling Room at Lyons High School during the summer. Sometimes Sullivan has to tell them to stay home on days when he himself doesn't feel like working up a sweat in the wrestling room.
"The biggest thing about them is they love working out and love wrestling," Sullivan said. "It's a hard thing to do to love something that's grueling and wants to kill you most of the time. If you've got their kind of attitude, that goes a long way. On days when everything's falling apart and I have seniors skipping practice or whatever, I just look over at those two and how hard they work and the future looks pretty bright for this team."
Jon hopes to place at state this season and Will said he's set his sights on a state title or two before his prep career is over. Whatever their prep wrestling fates hold, the Hickman twins have gotten themselves off to a good start. And each owes much of his early success to the other.
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