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Brothers Bailey Badwound, 16, left, and Brady Badwound greet each other Tuesday during a practice in the Air Academy wrestling room in Colorado Springs. “We’re each other’s support system,” said Brady.

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Their story isn't unusual.

Bailey and Brady Badwound are brothers who started wrestling at a young age. And soon enough, they fell in love with the sport. But their story has a unique twist: While their dad was deployed in Iraq with the Army, their mom found a way to put their youthful energy to good use.

And that was to take them to wrestling practice as much as possible.

"It was pretty much day care for our mom," Brady joked.

His younger brother remembered it a little differently.

“Our mom couldn’t get us out of the wrestling room," Bailey said. "We loved it so much. We always wanted to go. She couldn’t hold us back."

All that time in the wrestling room was well spent.

Brady, a senior, and Bailey, a sophomore, are this year's Air Academy wrestling captains because of their knowledge of and experience in a sport that they, as one of them pointed out, adore so much. And this love comes despite all the blood, sweat, tears and countless hours wrestling requires.

"They're both tenacious," Kadets coach Nate Hill said. "They're fighters who work hard both on and off the mat."
 
And they both have state aspirations.
 
Last season, Brady made it all the way to the Class 4A semifinals at 160 pounds before he suffered a 10-2 loss to eventual state champion Drake Engelking of Longmont. Badwound placed fifth with a 6-2 decision over Zachary Vannaman of Pine Creek and wrapped up his season with a 30-8 record.
 
Bailey, on the other hand, had his first taste of the state tournament. His run was short, as he went 0-2 at 120. But that experience taught him what it takes to compete at that level.
 
And after his losses, he has an older brother who will look after him.
 
"I feel like if Brady wasn’t there," Bailey said, "I would almost have not stuck with wrestling. There’s been time where wrestling has been hard. But after losses, there he is, telling me what I need to improve."
 
Bailey wrapped up his freshman season with a 30-11 record. After the state tournament in February, he went back to training. He won an offseason tournament, determined to not let his setback hold him down.
 
Both, of course, want to return to the state championships.
 
Until then, you can find them working toward this goal at their favorite place: the wrestling room.

Reporter

Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.

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