In 2011-12, when Hilton’s 113-pound wrestler finished his bout and the 120-pounder took the mat, you couldn’t blame opponents for doing a double take.
After all, 2012 New York state finalist Vincent DePrez and his twin brother Anthony look extremely alike. In fact, some who know them pretty well claim that they can’t always differentiate them.
“I still can’t tell the difference,” said their father Jason DePrez, laughing.
Adam Burgos, co-owner of G2 World Wrestling Academy who has worked with the twins for years, agreed.
“For me, I either look at their wrestling shoes or their smiles,” Burgos said. “One has a more noticeable smile than the other, but if you look quickly, it’s tough to tell. Usually, I just say one of their names and see who looks. It’s a challenge at times.”
Besides the way they look, the brothers have another thing in common – winning.
Vincent DePrez had one of the best seasons in the Empire State last year on his way to the silver medal at 113 pounds. He won his first 49 matches, including victories over Division II state champion Sean Peacock of Midlakes and other All-State grapplers such as Pat Skinner, Robert Person and Cody McGregor after taking fourth at 103 pounds the previous season.
He came within one second of the state title, dropping a one-point decision as time expired against Dylan Realbuto of Somers. What many observers didn’t know was that DePrez suffered an eye injury with less than 30 seconds remaining and was forced to spend several hours after the tournament was over in a nearby emergency room.
“I cut my eyelid and it split and I needed stitches,” Vincent DePrez said. “It really wasn’t that bad, but I had to take a couple of weeks off from wrestling to heal. It was a little tough because I’m used to wrestling every day.”
When he was able to get back into the swing of things, he started work with Anthony, who also had a successful campaign.
Anthony came close to competing in Albany as well, losing by a point to New York state second place finisher Brady Baron in the SuperSectional title bout to cap off a 41-6 season.
“I think my season went alright,” Anthony DePrez said. “I took second in a lot of tournaments. I got closer and closer to Brady [Baron] during the year. The first time, I got pinned. The second time I only lost by a few points. The last match, I needed to turn him on top but couldn’t. I felt like I should have been able to, but I lost 4-3. This year, I am looking to get to make it to states and place high.”
Vincent’s goal is, not surprisingly to earn his first state title. Both twins said they will make significant jumps in weight, with Vincent potentially wrestling at 138 and Anthony at 145.
“Being up a few classes, there will be different challenges and different competitors for them,” Burgos said. “But with hard work and determination, they can achieve their goals. They have a built in workout partner right down the hall. They don’t even have to call anyone or go anywhere. They’re competitive to the point of pushing each other really hard. One never wants to be outdone by the other.”
That’s for sure. As would be expected with brothers, things can get a little chippy.
“We fight a lot during practice,” Vincent DePrez said. “It can get pretty bad. But we’re all good when practice is over.”
The twins aren’t only competitive with each other. Younger brother Lou DePrez, an eighth grader, also participates in a lot of their training, along with Yianni Diakomihalis, currently ranked the sixth-best junior high school wrestler in the nation by Intermat.
“We have Vincent and Anthony working and Louie and Yianni working. There’s a dynamic in the room where both of the groups are trying to outdo each other,” Burgos said. “It makes everyone better. I think Louie might be a little bit better off than the twins at this stage because of the environment he’s able to train in.”
Lou DePrez’s looks and smile set him apart from his twin brothers. His voice during the interview conducted for this story was different enough to be recognized. But the winning gene is still there.
In his seventh grade season on Hilton’s varsity squad, he compiled a 29-15 mark at 106 pounds.
“I just focused on trying to get better throughout the season,” Lou DePrez said. “Most of the guys were bigger than me at 106 so it was sometimes tough. But having Yianni as a partner is great. He pushes me hard and always raises the bar high. I’m shooting to make it to the state tournament this year and place.”
“[Lou] will turn some heads this year,” Burgos added. “He’s really starting to come into his own. He’s very aggressive on his feet and with the way he trains, I expect really big things out of him.”
That will make a triple threat of DePrez grapplers for opposing teams to deal with this winter. And then another year down the line, current sixth grader Sam DePrez, who has been wrestling since he was three or four years old, will join the mix.
“The family loves the sport,” Burgos said. “I feel strongly that they will have success individually and as a family. It’s extremely exciting as a fan of wrestling in our area to see all of these brothers that could be at the top of the podium.”
It could happen this season. It’s possible that the DePrez name will be announced many times at the SuperSectionals and in Albany in February of 2013.
Even if most people won’t be able to tell the DePrez twins apart.
More Season Preview Articles:
Section 11 Preview
Section 1 Feature: Aslanian and Realbuto, All-State Wrestlers and Workout Partners, Seek to End Their Careers on Top of the Podium
Section 4 Feature: Looking for “Number Nine”: Reggie Williams Aims to Make History at Johnson City
Section 5 Feature: The “Miracle” Continues: The Return of Aaron Paddock
Section 9 Feature: Unstoppable: Vinny Vespa Wrestles Again After Confronting Cancer
Section 11 Feature: Nick Piccininni Looks to Continue Winning Streak