When MU senior wrestler Chris McCormick was in his sophomore season for the Tigers, his brother Tyler was at home in Kansas, wrestling an undefeated senior season in high school.
Tyler McCormick had qualified for the national tournament, and was close to reaching his goal of becoming an All-American.
So Chris McCormick spent his college spring break at home, practicing and working out with his younger brother to make him more prepared for the tournament.
Many such workouts in the past together resulted in fights and arguments because of their competitiveness, but these workouts were different.
“It’s funny because I thought we’d get mad at each other, conditioning together,” Tyler McCormick said. “But he ended up helping me out a lot with the match I need to win to get an All-American. We had just gone over the move I made to win.”
Not all of the McCormick brothers’ memories are so fond. They both laugh about it now, but they spent much of their childhood arguing and fighting about neighborhood sports games.
“We were always playing something in our front yard,” Tyler McCormick said. “Whatever season it was, that’s what we’d be playing. And the ultimate goal was to beat my brother.”
They both wrestle for Missouri now, but while growing up Chris and Tyler McCormick were always on opposite teams in their neighborhood games because they were so competitive. They always wanted to play against each other because they viewed it as an opportunity to improve their abilities.
“It made me a lot better growing up,” Tyler McCormick said. “I always wanted to win, and I’d do whatever it took to try to win, which made me get better as an athlete.”
The McCormick brothers have grown up since their neighborhood baseball, basketball and roller hockey games. But the drive to win is still there. They now use that drive to push each other to get better.
“I’m a lot meaner and harder on him than the rest of the team,” Chris McCormick said. “We’re not very nice to each other sometimes. We know how to agitate each other.
“But I think that can be a good thing. We push each other further than we do other guys.”
Always having someone there to push him is one of the many reasons Chris McCormick wanted his brother to follow in his footsteps by chosing to wrestle at MU. Chris McCormick said having a brother on his college team gives him a relationship few others are able to experience.
“It’s awesome,” Chris McCormick said. “It’s great to be able to live together and work out together all the time. I definitely wanted him to come here. We know each other so much better.”
So though the McCormick brothers have always been competitive with each other, they also know they have someone who will always be there during the tough times, as well as someone to share the good times.
“We always root for each other,” Tyler McCormick said. “We both want each other to succeed.”
The two have been wrestling together on various freestyle wrestling teams since Chris McCormick was five, and Tyler McCormick was four.
Ever since Chris McCormick brought home a flier about a wrestling camp, he and Tyler McCormick made wrestling the biggest part of their lives. McCormick family vacations were out-of-town wrestling tournaments.
“It’s all we did growing up,” Chris McCormick said. “I think we have tape of us wrestling since we were five up until now.”
When one of them is wrestling, the other is right there cheering. But, even now, when they face off in the occasional basketball game or the Thanksgiving Monopoly game they played two weeks ago, the sibling rivalry is still there and as fiery as ever.
“When you’re that competitive, there’s not much that doesn’t get fought for,” Tyler McCormick said. “Everything is prized until that next competition comes along.”
Despite that rivalry, wrestling has been somewhat of an outlet from the competition against each other. They have been able to focus on beating other opponents, partially because they have never wrestled in the same weight class. Chris McCormick currently wrestles at 141 pounds and Tyler McCormick wrestles in the 133-pound class.
“He doesn’t wanna come up here and mess with this,” Chris McCormick said, laughing. “I’m too big for him.”