Kane brothers very able: Warde wrestling siblings are masters of the mat
Charlie Kane sat in a chair by the door of Warde wrestling coach Jason Shaughnessy's office, head down, fiddling with his smart phone. His younger brother Tim, sat in another chair on the other side of the room, head down, fooling around with a badminton racquet.
At face value, the Kane brothers seem to be two of the shyest and quietest kids you'd ever meet. Getting them to speak about their accomplishments -- and they are very impressive accomplishments -- was a daunting task. But get them on a wrestling mat and these two quiet brothers become totally different people.
"They are very dedicated to what they do," Shaughnessy said.
"They're both a pleasure to have on the team, the coach continued. "They are both very into wrestling and they take what they do very seriously. It's nice to have two successful leaders on the team."
Successful might be an understatement. Let's try dominant instead. As Charlie, who's a junior, and Tim, a sophomore, prepare for this weekend's New England Championships in North Andover, Mass., they both bring perfect 44-0 records with them, along with championships in the FCIAC, Class L and State Open tournaments, Charlie winning at 138 pounds and Tim taking the 126-pound title.
"Both these kids have a very strong work ethic," Shaughnessy said. "And they succeed in an individual sport where they don't have to depend on someone blocking for them or throwing a pass to them. They're the kind of kids that work hard, that train hard, that have learned the sport and can excel in a one-on-one environment."
Charlie and Tim were introduced to wrestling by their father, who had wrestled in high school. Charlie was in second grade and Tim was in first.
"We've been wrestling ever since," Charlie said.
Both brothers tried their hand at football and Charlie also dabbled in soccer "but that didn't last long," he said. They started in the Fairfield PAL wrestling program and later joined KT Kids, a program affiliated with USA Wrestling, located in Rocky Hill, which is where the brothers work during the "off-season"
"My first memories of them was seeing them upstairs in the wrestling room and they were both really young," Shaughnessy said. "One of them had a broken leg and they were wrestling with the cast on, running around the wrestling room. They were probably seven and eight years old."
Tim was the one with the broken leg. In addition, he also suffered another injury -- at the hands of Charlie -- during a "friendly" brother against brother match in the Mustangs weight room.
"He broke my arm," Tim says matter-of-factly.
"That was an accident," Charlie said.
"That's what they all say," responds Tim. "Sometimes he tries to kill me. It depends on how much I ticked him off that day."
At that, Charlie hangs his head a little lower. Tim jumps at the opening.
"Am I embarrassing you?" he says, to which Charlie fires back, "Yes, you are an embarrassment."
Shaughnessy jumps in. "If you haven't realized it yet, these two are quite different," he says. "Charlie is very business-like and regimented and Tim is more easy-going. Tim is less shy ... if you get him going, he's less-shy."
They may be shy in public but on the mat ... well, that's different. Forty four matches each, 44 wins. And to get where they are, they've had to best the best of the best. Tim defeated Paulo Freitas of Danbury 3-1 to win the FCIAC's, beat Joshua Wilson of Bristol Eastern to capture the Class L title and then topped Danbury's Jeremy Fields in a 1-0 decision to win the State Open.
Charlie, meanwhile, defeated Ridgefield's Kevin Side 5-1 to take the FCIAC's, beat New Milford's Bryan Rojas 6-0 to win the Class L's and then defeated Nonnewaug's Kiernan Duggan 5-1 to win the State Open.
But Charlie's biggest win came back in December at the Warde Invitational when he beat the defending New England champion, John-Claude Lemieux from Londonderry, N.H., in a 2-1 decision.
"That was a huge win for Charlie," Shaughnessy said. "That was by far the best competition he's wrestled against all year and it was a very, strong controlled match that he won."
And when you consider that Charlie missed his entire sophomore season after breaking the L5 vertebra in back, his accomplishments are nothing short of remarkable.
"That wasn't fun," Charlie said. "It was a stress fracture that happened over a period of couple of weeks, right before Nationals."
"The impressive thing about him was he came to every practice. He supported his team all along the way," Shaughnessy said. "He was there, walking around, helping younger kids. He was a big part of the team and that's one of the reasons we made him a junior captain this year."
Because both brothers train so hard, there is little time to do much of anything else, except study. "I'll watch some TV," Tim said. "Charlie likes to sleep."
"Obsessive sleep," says Charlie.
Charlie is already getting interest from colleges and his choices (at the moment) run the gamut. Virginia, Gettysburg, Wake Forest, Franklin & Marshall,
"I'd like to get a scholarship and go somewhere where I could balance academics and wrestling," Charlie said.
"A lot of what they're going to do in the off-season will dictate their college interest levels," Shaughnessy said. "If they win New England's, that great, that puts them on the radar and they're both going to compete in the Nationals in Fargo, N. D. in July. Those higher level competitions with multi-state exposure is where they will get a lot of their (college) recognition."
And if they win New Englands?
"I'm having wings, no matter what," Tim says.
"Probably pancakes or pizza," he says. "I-Hop pancakes. When we're not wrestling, we like to eat. Eating's fun."
But not as much fun as wrestling.