HAWTHORNE — Evan Ramos presses hard against his braced right ankle, lunges forward with a powerful burst, grabs Hawthorne heavyweight Billy Brown around his left leg and drives his 250-pound teammate to the mat for a textbook takedown.
This is progress.
Ethan Ramos, sparing an arm’s length away from his fraternal twin, slips the same move into another teammate’s leg, puts him into an inverted cradle as they roll to the mat, then pauses for a second with his teammate’s legs dangling in the air and his shoulders lying flat on the ground, as if to prove to himself he earned the pin.
This is perfection.
And so it went for the duo at a recent Hawthorne practice, each working on the same move at the same time only a few feet apart, yet always arriving at different outcomes.
This is Ethan and Evan Ramos.
“They are going to leave a huge legacy behind here,” Hawthorne coach Bob Pasquale said. “When people think of Hawthorne wrestling, they think of Ethan and Evan Ramos. They are the face of the program.”
Inevitably that happens, where Ethan and Evan become one face, not two.
Though they look, speak, act and wrestle differently — Ethan, the smaller at 170 pounds but more muscular with a flair for the dramatic move, and Evan, more talkative and taller with good leverage technique at 195 — their names have become inseparable around Hawthorne wrestling.
That’s just what happens when twins surpass the program record for career wins (131 for Ethan, 119 for Evan) and establish themselves as state title contenders.
Yet as the undefeated seniors prepare for the District 6 tournament Friday and Saturday at Fair Lawn, where Ethan goes for a fourth straight title and Evan goes for his third, they do so as different wrestlers facing different obstacles and different expectations.
Evan (28-0) still is recovering from a sprained right ankle he suffered three weeks ago, which he said now is around 80 percent, and is using his sparing sessions with Brown as a warmup for the district. He’s not sure where he’ll wrestle in college, though he’s being recruited by several schools, and knows most people don’t expect him to be on top of the podium in Atlantic City.
“That motivates me,” Evan said. “I want to prove them wrong.”
Ethan (30-0), on the other hand, is in peak physical form and uses practice to fine-tune his arsenal of attacks. He’s already signed on to wrestle at North Carolina and is favored to win gold at the state tournament after placing fourth last year.
“I really want to go undefeated and try to dominate everyone I face,” Ethan said. “That’s my top goal right now.”
Yet for every physical and statistical difference they have, one major similarity remains: their belief in each other.
“I think we both can definitely win it,” said Ethan, referring to the state tourney.
“People might not think it’s as realistic for me,” Evan added. “But I think I can win.”
Though the road they take to get there inevitably will be different.