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Meyers family on the wrestling mat ready to conquer for Kentwood
Cassidy hopes her final season of wrestling culminates with a trio of Meyers siblings on the podium under the dome as her brothers Dalton, a junior, and Walker, a sophomore, will try to work their way through the boys brackets.
“I’d like to make it to state,” Walker said. “I’d like to do that with my brother and sister.”
This would be a dream not just for them, but for their father, Steve, who coaches the Kentwood girls.
“It’s nice to have them there,” Cassidy said of her brothers. “When I’m running and I look over and see my little brother (Walker) running, I don’t want to let him beat me. There’s that family rivalry.”
They all get along, of course, but being the oldest of the three still in high school -- there are three older sisters, two who played soccer and Jolene, who won a state wrestling crown in 2008 -- Cassidy doesn’t want them to get the better of her. And though they look up to her, Cassidy thinks they probably wouldn’t want her to get the better of them.
“I’ll wrestle with the guys a little bit at practice, but not my brothers,” she said.
Dalton values the fact his family spends so much time together in the wrestling practice room at Kentwood.
“There’s no rivalry,” Dalton said. “Sometimes we butt heads because we think they can work harder, but, we’re there for support.”
Grappling has just been a part of life in the Meyers household for as long as Cassidy can remember. Her father wrestled so he signed his sons up.
“Jolene asked if she could wrestle and he said no,” Cassidy recalled. “I wanted to wrestle. He let me. Then my mom got mad and told him Jolene had to wrestle, too. My mom wanted to make sure it was fair. My brothers were wrestling, so I wanted to wrestle.”
Steve said he tries to draw a line, though, between the practice room and the dining room. There are a few conversations about wrestling at home, but, he’s Dad there and Coach at Kentwood or wherever they’re on the wrestling mat.
Because Cassidy rarely wrestles in the South Puget Sound League North dual meets her brothers compete in, her role in those moments are different: teammate, proud older sister.
“I just support them in general,” she said. “I can get intense watching a wrestling match, or any sport, actually. I usually yell at them to do something but they can’t hear me. I do support them on and off the mat.”
They’re easy to support, Cassidy said, though Dalton and Walker are very different people as well as very different wrestlers.
“Dalton, he’s a really good wrestler,” Cassidy said. “He’s a really technical wrestler. Last year watching him at state, I was so proud of him. This year I think he’ll get on the podium.”
Cassidy believes Walker can get to state this year if he fine tunes his technique and focuses on the areas he needs to work on.
“Walker is definitely a social butterfly,” she said. “He’s more of a flashy wrestler. He’s getting more technical now. He’s going through exact same stages now that I went through at that age.”
Cassidy remembers a soccer coach telling her a few years ago she needed to develop the mental maturity to match her athletic ability in order to progress in the sport.
Steve Meyers recalls her first two years of high school wrestling. Cassidy didn’t need to listen to her coach, he said, because she knew what she was doing.
When she realized her coach had something helpful to say, when Cassidy had that moment of clarity, it was a turning point for her, and she was able to put all that hard work together with her athletic ability to win the state title.
When Walker has that moment, Cassidy said, she knows he will turn the corner and do great things on the mat.
“The boys have been lucky with Jolene and (Cassidy) coming through,” Steve Meyers said. “They’ve seen what that hard work can do. (Dalton) has always been one of the hardest workers. He works his tail off. Walker always had a lot of natural ability and balance. Wrestling came naturally for him.”
Steve Meyers said he tries not to push them, to pressure them to place in the top eight at Mat Classic in February, but he knows that’s the goal all three of his children have this season.
“It’s their decision to do the extra work they need to do to get where they want to be,” Steve Meyers said.
Walker said he likes having his dad in the practice room and he thinks Cassidy is glad to have him there, as well.
“When he’s there, she’s happy,” Walker said.
And Dalton said he likes having his family members at practice.
“It’s a comfort having them in the room,” Dalton said. “We can push each other, motivate each other in the room. We’ve been wrestling together a long time.”
This season, Cassidy is competing at 124 pounds while Dalton will wrestle at 138 and Walker is at 120 pounds.
Both Walker and Dalton look to their sister as an example of the payoff that comes with hard work. They know they need to follow that in order to accomplish what they’ve set out to do this season.
“The best part is when you’re tired, you know you need to work harder,” Walker said. “Cassidy, she was tired in her last match but she kept pushing and she won.”
Dalton said they look up to Cassidy.
“We wanted to follow in her footsteps,” Dalton said. “We want to make her happy and do what she did. The most important thing is to better others every time you’re in the gym. We have to keep getting better. We have to peak at the state tournament. That’s the best chance of achieving that.”
Cassidy, who is an accomplished rugby player who plans to play that sport at the college level next year, said she will miss wrestling.
“It’s an addictive sport after a while,” she said. “In a sense I feel like if I don’t end it well, it’s like not finishing the last chapter of a book.”
What she’s learned from wrestling, the importance of mental toughness, has prepared her for life beyond the mat.
From now until the end of February, though, the Meyers family is working hard toward a big goal: Cassidy, Dalton and Walker all on the podium at Mat Classic XXV.