By John Knebels
Sports Columnist

Beat the daylights out of each other in practice. Claim you are better and stronger than the other. And often aim to get on each other’s nerves.

Ah, brotherly love.

While they admit to doing all of the competitive deeds listed above, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School brothers Mike and Matt DelSignore have a great relationship both on and off the wrestling mat.

“He’s my best friend, and he’s my best opponent on the team,” said Mike, a senior. “That isn’t surprising. That’s the way it should be.” {{more}}

A varsity member since his freshman season, Mike has elevated his weight class from 103 to 119 to 130 to 135. As a sophomore, he made All-Catholic. This year, he is currently 12-2 and hopeful to make All-Catholic again.

Matt didn’t go out for wrestling as a freshman, electing to focus on the academic rigors of a college prep curriculum. Last year, he competed mostly on the junior varsity team but did see some varsity time. Now, he is a starter at 140 pounds and has more than held his own.

“He’s actually one of our best wrestlers,” said Mike, who admits to being just a tad biased. “He works really hard.”

The Haddon Heights, N.J., residents attended St. Rose of Lima School in their hometown but needed to look elsewhere to wrestle. A summer club team bout (Holy Cross Duels) between the two resulted in a hard fought, 1-0 win for Mike.

Bragging rights?

“Of course,” Matt said, smiling. “What would you expect?”

Talk with Matt and it is obvious that he has a healthy admiration for his older brother. He is proud when he mentions Mike’s being named an All-Catholic as a sophomore, and lauds his sibling for being a captain since his junior year.

Asked how the Prep has fared against different Catholic League teams thus far this winter, Matt usually double-checks with Mike before positive confirmation.

“It’s great to wrestle varsity but being able to do it with your older brother makes it that much better,” Matt said. “We root for all of our teammates, but there is something different when he is wrestling.”

Mike understands what Matt means.

“There’s an intangible when you are watching your brother,” Mike said. “You always want your teammates to win and are pulling for them all the time, but when it’s your brother, you kind of stop and look at it a little differently, like you are watching as much as you are rooting. It’s hard to describe.”

The Prep is among a handful of teams that are hoping to challenge early favorites La Salle and Father Judge for Catholic League supremacy. Whatever may occur, a “special” season has already been forged.

“We’re enjoying everything,” Matt said. “We have a lot to be thankful for.”