Athlete of the Week: Sharks get 2-for-1 deal in Rothermel

St. James wrestling coach Matt Anderson must have felt like the rich man who hit the lottery – twice.

Already returning a state-title contending team this winter, Anderson welcomed two new transfer students to the Sharks’ program during the offseason – twins Codi and Derek Rothermel, who are both undefeated so far in their senior years.

Codi was named the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week after big wins in the Bamberg-Ehrhardt Duals to improve to 26-0 on the season and the Seahawk Slam in Hilton Head Island, where he was named most outstanding wrestler out of 24 competing teams.

“We as a team love to have Codi and his brother Derek on our team,” said Anderson, whose Sharks are now ranked No. 1 in Class AAA. “They fit in great with the other guys, they mesh really well and feed off each other.”

The Rothermels moved to the Grand Strand last summer and settled about 1 mile from St. James High. Little did they know they were moving into one of the top wrestling programs in the state, and they were about to have more than one another to hang out and practice with.

“It was tough when we moved here in the summer and we didn’t know anybody, but we got really lucky to go to St. James and make a lot of good friends on the wrestling team,” Codi said. “Everybody has been real nice and welcomed us to the team.”

And why not? As better-than-average wrestlers on their former team in Pennsylvania, where wrestling is more advanced than in S.C., the twins have quickly become instant contenders for state titles in their weight classes and turned the Sharks into the team to beat in Class AAA.

“It’s great having Codi and Derek with us this season, along with the other talent already assembled here,” Anderson said. “(They) look to make a big impact on S.C. wrestling, hopefully both of them winning individual titles and even having a big part in the pursuit of a team state title.”

Codi’s all for it, and he likes all of their chances now that he’s seen his new teammates in action. “I knew after the North Myrtle Beach tournament and the Hilton Head tournament, even though we finished second it was mostly Class AAAA and Georgia schools. Competing with them helps us prove we are No. 1 (in Class AAA).”

The Sharks have been competing in tournaments every weekend since Thanksgiving to prepare for the rigors of the state tournament. Codi and Derek continue to be each others’ No. 1 fans and critics, although they refuse to go head-to-head on the mat. Codi wrestles at 138 pounds while Derek moves up to  the 152-pound class to avoid going head-to-head against defending state champion John Vanslooten at 145.

“Whenever I wrestle Derek, he’s always right there cheering for me. I think he gets more nervous before my matches than I do,” Codi said. “We always work on things together as drill partners, but we won’t go live. We’ve seen each other wrestle so much that either nothing happens or we get mad and start fighting.”

But now they have found a new home and a whole slew of teammates to work out with – and hopefully reach their common goal of winning a state title.

Photo courtesy of Lynne Slay

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