In their last high school wrestling practice, Moffat County High School's Ty Grandbouche and Ty Weber were in the same place they'd been since early elementary school -- battling it out aggressively on the mat.
"We've been wrestling each other as long as I can remember," Grandbouche said. "He's the toughest kid I've ever wrestled."
Two of the top middleweight wrestlers in Class 4A and arguably Colorado (Grandbouche is ranked second at 145 and Weber is first at 152), the practice partners embody what Moffat County wrestling is known for -- smash-mouth wrestling combined with a quiet demeanor.
"They are silent leaders," coach Roman Gutierrez said. "When they get on the mat, they know what is expected of them and they never let up."
Grandbouche and Weber are two of five seniors who hope to combine with five underclassmen for a third-straight state title this weekend at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
"We've both benefited from the competition at practice," Weber said. "What makes our team good is that we have someone tough to practice with."
According to Gutierrez, the two rarely wrestle someone else in practice.
"Those guys pick each other out every day," he said. "When we go into groups of three, the additional wrestler knows if he's going half speed, he'll get blasted."
The two grappling partners said they've passed out their share of bloody lips and noses over the years, but it's what has made them who they are as wrestlers.
From the first whistle to the final sprints of the day at practice, slack time is a rare occasion for the two.
"We don't allow each other to slack," Grandbouche said. "We don't really have time to talk about it during practice, we just expect it from each other."
Going into the state tournament both wrestlers envision themselves in the state final. A spot where both believe they have something to prove.
If it weren't for a double overtime loss in last year's final, Weber would be going for his third individual championship this year. The match is something he said he still thinks about now.
"I feed off that loss," he said. "At state I have to make sure I take one match at a time."
For Grandbouche, his thoughts are focused on Montrose's Ben Tobler, the top-ranked wrestler who beat him, 3-1, in the regional.
"Ty prepares me well for Tobler," he said. "He's about the same build and strength and I just have to wrestle better this week than last."
While the pair walked out of the practice room for the last time of what Grandbouche said "feels like a million times," there wasn't much thought about the finality of things, it was just of getting business done this weekend.
"I haven't really thought of it being my last practice much," Grandbouche said. "I still have matches."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.