Caleb and Christian Rubin are in a race to be the first wrestler in their family to win a state championship, and the first at Goose Creek High School since 2006.
The twin brothers are different in many ways — including personality and style. Caleb sports a shaved head with a more intense look, while Christian has a head full of dark, wavy hair. The common bond is a great love for the sport of wrestling.
Currently, the seniors are the No. 1 wrestlers in Class AAAA in their respective weight classes — Caleb in the 220-pound division and Christian in the 182-pound classification. Neither has lost a match to an in-state opponent.
Goose Creek coach Nick Geary, a longtime assistant in his first season as head coach, has watched the pair mature and develop through hard work and dedication to the sport.
“Both are so mentally tough and so disciplined about how they work and their diet,” Geary said. “They truly love the sport. But, it’s really an interesting contradiction. On the mat, they are very tough, competitive and aggressive. Off the mat, they are as kind and respectful as they can be. They are real gentlemen and they’re great in the classroom. But when it’s time to flip the switch, they really turn it on.”
The brothers began wrestling as second-graders, pushed into the sport by their mother, Kristen Lash, who wanted her sons to be involved in a physical sport.
“She’s a tough lady and she wanted us to be tough and she never let us miss anything when it came to wrestling,” Caleb said.
Added Christian, “She has been a great influence on us. She pushed us, made sure we made weight and took us all over the place. We both took some time off in the seventh and eighth grade. We tried basketball, but she pushed us back into wrestling because she knew that’s what we were best at.”
Neither has managed to reach their ultimate goal — an individual state championship. Caleb was very close last year, reaching the finals in the 160-pound weight class before losing. He suffered a broken foot during the match but refused to come off the mat.
“It was so tough to lose that way, but it has been all of my motivation since then,” he said. “Every day I lift or work out, that’s my focus. That was not the way I wanted to lose.”
Christian Rubin has finished fourth in the state tournament in each of the last two years — both at 152 pounds. Both wrestlers decided to make big jumps in weight class this season, something Geary says was needed.
“Last year it was hard to keep them at their weights because they were obviously growing and getting so much stronger,” he said. “As soon as last season was over, they immediately began adding the weight very easily. This is more comfortable and they’re wrestling at their natural weight now. They are premier athletes and they know how to do things the right way.”
Christian felt the bump up in weight classes, even by more than 30 pounds, has benefitted him and his brother.
“This is natural for us,” he said. “Because of the way we lift and eat, this was easy for us. I think it has helped both of us. We’re both where we should be now. It’s not any easier for us but we’re both more confident where we are right now.”
There is no lack of brotherly competition between the twins. Both want to be the first to win a state title and Christian would have that opportunity since his weight class wrestles in the finals before Caleb’s.
“That would be so cool,” Chirstian said, laughing. “We pull for each and we push each other but I would love to be the first state champion.”
The duo, however, do not wrestle each other anymore. The competitive juices tend to take over too often.
“We work out together, we do a lot together, but we don’t need to wrestle each other,” Caleb said. “It’s very competitive. It gets to a point where it’s more fighting that wrestling so it’s best we don’t even start.”