BILLINGS — All year Jace Rhodes heard the storyline. All year he knew what he had to do, and he did it Saturday night at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.
Rhodes became the second three-time state wrestling champion in Billings West history, joining his head coach, Jeremy Hernandez, as the lone Golden Bears to reach the feat.
“It’s good. We don’t talk about it too much, it was just focus on what I need to focus on,” said Rhodes. “He’s done his stuff in the past and he’s been able to teach me a lot, but he doesn’t talk about it, he’s pretty humble. I know he wants me to be better than he ever was and that’s how he coaches.”
Rhodes defeated Kalispell Flathead’s Tanner Russell with a 6-3 decision on Saturday evening, the second of 13 matches in the Class AA state brackets. He later watched as younger brother Drake, a freshman, captured the 113-pound title for West.
“First of all, I get so much more nervous for his matches than mine,” said Rhodes. “I would rather watch him win than me win myself. I get stressed out.”
“It’s tons of fun. I get to show him the ropes and he’s teaching me new things every day when we wrestle around,” Rhodes continued of his younger brother. “I think we’re two of the hardest-working kids out there and it’s fun to have a partner come wrestle with me, run with me and whatever we need to do, when we need to work out, we work out together. It’s tons of fun.”