By JEREMY HINES
Kelton Farmer is a massive high school junior. He’s ranked No. 5 in the state at 220 pounds. He’s the tackle on Evansville Memorial’s football team and he bench presses over 300 pounds. Yet, senior Aiden Farmer refers to him as his little brother.
“Kelton is friggin huge,” Aiden said. “He got really big in the offseason. I put a lot of hours in the weight room, and I can tell you, he lifts more than anyone we know, by far. He even missed his own birthday because he was at the gym. We were supposed to eat cake and he didn’t show up and we had to reschedule.”
Kelton said he lifts weights five days a week, for two to three hours a day even during wrestling season.
“Weight lifting is relaxing and it’s a way to push myself,” Kelton said. “I know I make myself better.”
The Farmer brothers are 15 months apart. Aiden is an 18-year-old senior and Kelton is a 17-year-old junior. Both are ranked fifth in their weight classes in wrestling. Aiden wrestles at 170 pounds.
“I let him know, a lot, that I’m bigger than him,” Kelton said. “I think I outgrew him when I was six or seven. That’s when I started getting taller.”
Last year the brothers qualified for the state tournament. The oldest Farmer brother, Jacob, had just missed going to state twice. He lost to Gleason Mappes 4-2 in the ticket round in 2015 and then lost to Gleason again in 2016 in the ticket round 8-7 in an ultimate tie breaker.
“Qualifying for state was really cool for my family,” Aiden said. “My older brother wrestled for Castle and came so close to going. But I think I was more nervous and excited when Kelton won his ticket round match than I was when I won mine.
“I get super excited and anxious for his matches – especially the big ones. I have a lot of faith in him, and I know he’ll do great, but I do get nervous for him.”
The brothers line up next to each other on the defensive line for the Evansville Memorial football team. Aiden was an all-state defensive end on the team this year that reached semistate.
Both would love to either wrestle or play football in college.
On the wrestling mat, Aiden excels in the top position. He uses his length to keep his opponent down and he can get takedowns from multiple angles in the neutral position.
Kelton’s style is to use his brut strength to wear down his opponents.
“They are only a year apart, but they are very different people,” Evansville Memorial coach Larry Mattingly said. “It’s fun to watch how they interact with each other and how they encourage one another. Bot are very unselfish and are great teammates.
“Kelton has a lot of speed and strength, especially for his size. Aiden is very hard to score on. He doesn’t do anything flashy, and his closes are usually pretty close. He’s like a good pitcher. He’s just hard to score on. They are also both very cerebral wrestlers. They understand the sport well. They expect a lot out of each other.”
The Farmer brothers are excited about competing today in the Evansville Mater Dei Holiday Tournament. Both wrestlers will have ranked opponents in their weight classes and it’s a great test for the upcoming state tournament.
“I have Brody Baummann and Codei Khawaja in my class,’ Aiden said. “They are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the state. Kelton has Nathan Critchfield in his class, and he’s ranked No. 2.”
There are two other Memorial wrestlers ranked in the state this season. Freshman Landon Horning is at No. 12 in the 126-pound class and junior Keegan Williams is No. 14 at 132.
“That tournament is a tough tournament,” Mattingly said. “It’s right there in our back yard and it gives us a chance to go bang heads with the best of them.”
The Farmer brothers both hope to get on the podium this year in the state tournament. Aiden wrote that as a goal going into the season. Last year his goal was to get to state, and he accomplished that. This year he’s upping the ante.
“Their dad, Eric is very involved with them in wrestling and he’s been a big influence on them,” Mattingly said. “But he will tell you that they get their real competitive fire and toughness from their mom, Jessica Parsons. She played college volleyball.”