The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 12, 2014

Family concept not a problem for Woodrow wrestling

Flying Eagles have 3 sets of brothers

BECKLEY — One of the many challenges a coach faces is getting his team to buy into a family concept. That isn’t a problem for Woodrow Wilson wrestling coach Street Sarrett, whose team includes three sets of brothers.

“It really brings the team together,” Sarrett said after practice Tuesday. “We already had a tight-knit group, but when they are brothers and they do everything together, it’s really tight.”

Tyler and Josh Gilger, Josh and John Lilley and Caleb and Isaac Barley help cement the cohesiveness they already have as siblings. Make no mistake, there are definitely rivalries that spill from the living room to the mat room — and vice versa — and have probably resulted in broken lamps and the fraying of their parents’ nerves.

“Occasionally, but not too bad,” Caleb Barley said with a laugh. “Every now and then he will jump on me, or I will jump on him.”

“I always want to keep up with him,” Isaac Barley said. “You just want to be better than your bigger brother, I guess.”

The Lilleys are a perfect example. Josh and John argue and fight, just as any other sets of brothers. But being part of a big family has strengthened their relationship.

“I have a little brother and a little sister, and I have a big brother and a big sister, and a little brother on the way,” said Josh Lilley, who had to miss practice Tuesday because he is sick. “So it seemed like we always got stuck together and we’re always hanging out. We probably argue the most, but we get along the best. Where I’ll be moving out and heading to college soon, we seem to get along better than we used to.”

The Gilgers might be the most competitive of the siblings. In fact, the two actually faced each other in a 126-pound match at a tournament at Parry McCleur High in Buena Vista, Va.

“It gets real competitive in there, but it’s all in good fun,” said Tyler Gilger, a senior who got his 100th career win at the WSAZ Tournament last month. “Having your brother in there definitely pushes you more, because you always want to beat your brother.

“It can get a little testy (at home) because of (practice). Where we’re so close to the same weight, we wrestle a lot, so it can get feelings a little heated. But it goes away. We love each other. It definitely comes home with us sometimes.”

“We got pretty intense,” Josh Gilger said of their match in Virginia. “It was pretty crazy.”

“The two Gilger brothers are very competitive with each other,” Sarrett said. “It’s a battle between those two.”

In the end, it’s good-natured competitiveness that drives them all, not just the Gilgers. It just so happens they are staring at their brother instead of someone with a different-colored jersey.

“It makes all of us work harder in practice. Especially me, because I like to impress my brother,” Josh Gilger said. “I always look for his approval, because he is my older brother.”

Sibling rivalry does exist, but there are also the bonds that can only be formed between brothers. John Lilley, a freshman, admits that even though he and Josh are competitive with each other, he will be sad to see him leave.

“Because each of us are brothers, each of us wants us to reach a goal, so we keep pushing each other over and over,” John Lilley said. “Sometimes we’ll get mad, but it doesn’t matter. We just keep on pushing each other.

“The other two (sets of) brothers, we know how it feels, so we’re going to help everyone. Because everyone on this team is a brother.”

n n n

The Flying Eagles will host Class AAA No. 1 Huntington and Greenbrier West’s JV team at 6 p.m. Thursday. It will be Senior Night, with the following seniors being honored: Khalil Anderson, Hunter Davis, Zachariah Elkins, Tyler Gilger, Josh Lilley and Cody Van Dyke.

— E-mail: and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber.

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