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In Smith Center, younger brothers creating their own Rogers name

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

It's not easy to compare oneself to the all-time winningest wrestler in one's classification, but that's something the two younger Rogers brothers have done all their lives.

Smith Center junior Clint Rogers and younger brother Cale, a freshman, competed this weekend at the Class 3-2-1A state tournament.

They've each started their wrestling careers well. Clint is a three-time all-state wrestler, and Cale locked down his first all-state honor after the first day.

However, it's tough to live up to their eldest brother's legacy. Colt Rogers went 149-3, won four state championships and never lost to a Kansas wrestler, establishing quite the benchmark.

Clint said he learned quick he can't compare himself to Colt.

"A lot of the people before I started high school wrestling would ask me if I was going to be a four-timer like my brother," Clint said. "People asked me that all the time, but all I can do is do what you do best. I can't live off his name, my dad always tells me."

Smith Center wrestling coach Brock Hutchinson said the Rogers brothers have a lot of pressure to succeed, and it comes from all directions.

Hutchinson said it often feels like outsiders root against the Rogers brothers because of all the success their family has had. Their father, Mike, was a legendary running back for Smith Center who later played at the University of Kansas. He's now the assistant football coach and junior high wrestling coach.

Combine that with living up to their brother's legacy and trying to match Smith Center's high standards for excellence, and it can make it pretty difficult for the two youngest Rogers brothers, Hutchinson said.

"That's tough on those kids," Hutchinson said. "I think they are finally starting to figure out they could make their own name."

However, despite all of that, the brothers have done extremely well.

Clint Rogers finished fourth this season with a 34-12 record at 126 pounds, and finished fourth as a freshman and fifth as a sophomore.

Cale Rogers finished fifth with a 32-13 record at 106 pounds.

"There's a lot of pressure," Cale said about living up to his family's athletic success.

The pressure must not hurt them much. After all, no Rogers brother has gone to state and not placed in the top six.

Colt said the whole family is competitive and works hard, and that might be why they've fared so well.

"Our whole family is competitive no matter what we are doing," Colt said. "We might be wrestling, playing cards or whatever it is. We don't like to lose. That's the way our parents are. It's kind of rubbed off on us. It's kind of how we live and how we think."

Their competitiveness has wreaked havoc on their basement. Colt said the three brothers wrestled all the time, and it often got out of hand.

"You come to the basement of our house, there are holes in the walls," Colt said. "We were wrestling around all the time. It will start as a little wrestling match, and it will end up being a fist fight. That's just the competitive nature of us. My mom hates it. You'll hear her upstairs yelling, 'Quit wrestling.' "

Clint has a scar on his left eyebrow from Cale. Clint attempted a double-leg takedown on his younger brother in practice, and Cale brushed him into the wall, requiring Clint to get four stitches.

"We were going after it pretty hard," Clint said.

Though athletic success is universal among the three brothers, each brother is pretty unique.

Clint described Cale as the funny one, saying he cracks jokes all the time and always is having fun. However, Clint said he's also the toughest of the three. Between adventuring outside and wrestling, he's compiled quite the injury list.

"He broke his arm and dislocated both his elbows -- right one twice and left one once," Clint said. "He's bit his tongue off and had a stick jabbed through his cheek. He's as tough as nails."

Clint is the more serious of the three, Hutchinson said. He can be shy and quiet at times. Meanwhile, Clint described Colt as the model older brother, always looking out for his younger brothers and offering them advice.

"I'm very proud of my family," Clint said.

Hutchinson said the Rogers family has created three excellent young men that succeed not only on the mat but also in the classroom, and it all started with their parents, Mike and Cally.

"They are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, people," Hutchinson said. "They would do anything for anybody at any time. Growing up with that and seeing that through your family is going to make you a good person, going to make you a good kid."

All of the Rogers boys started wrestling at about 5 years old. Mike and Cally would wake them up at 4 a.m. and take them to wrestling tournaments throughout their youth -- a significant reason why they have been so successful from the start of their prep careers.

"Our parents have made such huge dedications and sacrifices for us to be able to travel around and wrestle money-wise and with their social lives," Colt said. "They are awesome. They love us, and we love them."

The Rogers family has established a legacy and a perfect run so far with all-state finishes.

Clint said he's proud of his brother and what his family has accomplished, but the comparisons stop there.

"I don't try to do what (Colt) did or be as good as he was," Clint said. "I just want to be as good as I can be."