By Jack Orloff
Pinning down your brother or sister in a wrestling match is something most parents are not fond of, but for Bowie High School siblings Joshua and Olivia Moreno, it's just another day at work.
Junior Olivia and Senior Joshua have been sparring partners for years, pushing each other every day to be the best.
"Being siblings in the same sport is actually really cool," said Joshua Moreno. "Competing in the same sport pushes both of us to work even harder because what kid wants their other sibling to get more recognition than them?"
The two were the first brother-sister combo to earn Most Outstanding Wrestler awards at the Region 4 wrestling tournament earlier this month.
Wrestling has been a passion in the Moreno family for as long as the two can remember. Family members have succeeded in the sport, including cousin Brittany Moreno, who coached Olivia and Joshua for years.
"As it passed down through generations, we've continued to carry on our legacy,” said Olivia Moreno. "My family and I enjoy the sport, and it has been a part of us for as long as I can remember. It's part of what keeps us really close as a family because, at tournaments, I look up in the stands and see a big group of people whom I know have my back."
Olivia is ranked 7th for her weight class in the country and has not lost a match since her freshman year of high school, including another state title this year in the Class 6A 119-pound weight class.
Joshua is a four-time district champion, regional champion, and state qualifier. While Joshua came up short in his state championship appearance this season, he was a valuable asset to Olivia in her quest for gold.
“He's been my practice and warm-up partner for whenever I've needed him, especially with this past state tournament after (his) tough loss. He was there to warm me up when I asked. We cheer for each other during matches and give tips after matches. We don't get too emotional for each other, but we give a lot of tough love and empathy."
Joshua says his sister not only pushes him but makes him a better wrestler.
"The only way you can get better is by competing against the best daily, and although there is a bit of a size difference, Olivia is one of the best in every room," said Joshua. "We are there at each other's matches, and we continually offer advice on pre-match mindset, little things we can fix to get better, even school, work and style.”
Their mother, Lynn Moreno, says the two complement each other along the way.
“They have a healthy respect and admiration for one another as they share what makes them both special,” she said. “While they are truly humble about their successes, you will often hear one defending and nurturing the other as they encounter obstacles.”
The sport of wrestling has connected both brother and sister on a deeper level.
"It's great to be able to share these experiences with my brother because most siblings may not even be in high school together, let alone compete in the same sport,” said Olivia. "We support and push each other to accomplish our goals and be successful. Being in this sport together has made us closer than ever."
Joshua said their frustrations can sometimes come out on the mat, but their bond is unbreakable.
"Spending as much time together as we do, we are very close, and occasionally it causes friction," said Joshua. "We are practice partners at school, so when one of us gets hot-headed or annoyed, it's easy to take it out on each other during practice, which leads to little brawls in the mat room. Furthermore, living together, we are always together, so we rely on each other very much, so even when heated, we help each other out."