LOWELL | Kenny and Drew Hughes wrestled at practice once this season.
It got heated. Lowell coach Bobby Howard thought he may have to pull the two apart. Kenny, the older brother, got the better end of it.
"He beat me up pretty bad," Drew said.
To be fair, Kenny is two years older and wrestles at 160 while Drew wrestles at 120. After that, though, the Hughes family asked Howard to make sure the brothers never wrestled in practice again.
Now the pair take out their frustrations on grapplers with whom they don't share DNA. Kenny is No. 4 in the state in the Panko Strength and Speed rankings at 160 while Drew is No. 9 at 120. Kenny is 12-0 and Drew is 10-0 this season.
"They're both very hard to score on," Howard said. "I never have to get on either of them in practice. They've been doing it a long time and know what it takes to reach their goals."
The goal for both brothers is a state championship. Kenny, a junior, qualified for state last year at 152, but said he was nervous that entire week and didn't compete like he's capable.
"Winning state has been a work in progress for me since I was six and I started wrestling," he said. "Last year was a good experience to win the ticket round and I'll wrestle better this year."
Drew is just a freshman but was a three-time middle school state champion.
"I feel like (winning a state championship) is pretty possible," Drew said. "It's not something that's out of reach."
They're very different wrestlers, though. Drew calls himself a leg-rider while Kenny's strength is his defense.
"Kenny is tough on top. It's just an estimate, but I'd say 80 percent of his wins come by pin," Howard said. "Drew know where he's at on the mat at all times and that's something that you can't teach."
Their personalities are equally different.
"Drew can be mean. He's got the attitude that he doesn't care who you are, he's going to beat you," Howard said. "Kenny is more mild-mannered. It takes a lot to make Kenny mad."
Kenny says he's the better wrestler and he has set the bar for performance. Drew has every intention of matching and exceeding his big brother's accomplishments and says he hopes to be the better of the two when it's all said and done.
"It's nice having him there, being that good," Drew said. "It's motivation to work harder. Part of it is doing better than he did."
Having a sibling in the wrestling room, especially one as talented as the Hughes brothers are, is a luxury most can't afford.
"He's my brother and we're there for each other," Kenny said. "Maybe we could do something together, like win state as brothers."