When Jordan Shields wrestles, there is one voice that can be heard. Hunched over on the edge of the mat one will find Jordan’s older brother Josh yelling instructions at him.
“I am unable to sit down when he is wrestling, so I usually find myself pacing at the edge of the mat,” Josh said.
The two brothers have been wrestling together for 17 years. Jordan is a 21-year-old redshirt junior, while Josh is a 24-year-old sixth year senior.
Before wrestling at Mercyhurst, the two were the top wrestlers in the state hailing from Burrell High School, a small town just outside of Pittsburgh. As the two enter their final year of collegiate wrestling, they each have one goal in mind.
“To win a national title,” Jordan said without hesitation.
To be national champions, the brothers must be willing to put themselves through a vigorous training regimen, a training regimen that starts long before the season begins. If you were to ask the two brothers, they would tell you that the wrestling season never really ends.
“We lift a lot, almost every day in the summer. That training consists of cross training, strength training, kettlebells, ropes and yoga. We also enjoy mountain biking, which helps our cardio. We try to get on the mat one to two times a week, along with mixed martial arts training and jujitsu to mix things up,” Jordan said.
The two have the advantage of training with each other, because they wrestle at two close weights. Jordan wrestles at 157 pounds, while Josh wrestles at 165 pounds. The two believe that being able to wrestle together has contributed to their success.
“I have been blessed throughout my wrestling career, not only to have a brother who pushes me, but to be around great coaches my entire life,” Josh said.
Jordan also credits much of his success to his brother.
“Josh has always motivated me. I love beating my older brother, and he is a stickler for technique and maximum effort,” Jordan said.
Their work ethic has brought them to the top of Division II wrestling. Josh is a former national champion and a three-time All-American. Jordan is coming off a fourth place finish at nationals.
With this being the last season left to wrestle together, the two are looking to do something that hasn’t been done in Division II wrestling: two brothers winning a national title in the same year.
“That would be a great day for the Shields family; I’m looking forward to it,” Josh said.
To accomplish such a feat, it will take more than physical skill, because as any wrestler knows, the sport is more mental than physical.
“I believe what separates a good wrestler from a great wrestler is their mental toughness. Wrestling is a grind; you have to be more mentally tough than physically gifted to be an elite wrestler,” Josh said.
“Wrestling is a sport built off mental toughness. That’s what separates it from any other collegiate sport. We are training for a battle versus one single opponent; it doesn’t get any more intense than that,” he said.
So far, both brothers are having stellar seasons for the Lakers. Jordan has a 13-2 record while Josh is 7-1.
When it is all said and done, the goal for these two brothers is to win a national title; anything else would be seen as a failure. Jordan and Josh know that this is most likely the last time the two will ever wrestle together competitively.
Josh sums up his goal this season in one sentence.
”I am coming back to school to win a national title. Anything less than that will be a disappointment,” Josh said.
The two will take to the mat Thursday, Jan. 26, against Gannon at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center.