Jade and Valyen Rauser combined to seven Montana state wrestling championships, but in college their careers took different paths.
Earlier this week, the twin brothers volunteered at a youth wrestling camp at Broadwater High School. Four years ago, after completing their redshirt years at Utah Valley, a doctor gave Valyen a devastating diagnosis.
“I had Ulcerative Colitis,” Valyen said. “It’s kind of like Chron’s Disease. I was probably using the restroom like 20 to 30 times a day.”
The severity forced an operation. A surgeon removed 10 inches of Valyen’s colon. The recovery time was 13 months of non-strenuous activity, which meant no wrestling. The order felt like a death sentence.
“Wrestling was my life,” Valyen said. “My parents told me that as longed as I wrestled, I wouldn’t have to work a day in my life.”
His career was over. Valyen chose long-term health over short-term success. Now, he focused on helping his bother deal with a harsh reality.
“I wasn’t use to multiple guys beating me,” Jade said. “I would go to the college room and I wouldn’t even get a win. I wouldn’t even get a take down.”
Losing was uncommon to a wrestler who went a 175-0 at Broadwater. Jade said he leaned on his brother, girlfriend and teammates for support.
“I almost quit my redshirt year,” Jade said. “Not a lot of people know that. A couple of kids on my team talked me into staying.”
The decision paid off. By his senior year, Utah Valley moved to the Big 12 conference and he placed third in the conference. At nationals he finished eighth, placing high enough to earn All-American honors.
“The goal coming out of high school was to be a national champion,” Jade said. “The goal below that is to become an All-American.”
For Valyen, it took time to come to grips with not wrestling. Today, he’s an assistant at Belgrade High.
“Now I teach how to be as tough as me,” Valyen said.
The twins inspired younger athletes, including their younger brother Kameron, who also desires to win a state title.
“I was just sitting there stunned and amazed,” Kameron said. “I look over and my mom starts crying. I want that to by me one day.”
For Jade and Valyen, now, they hope to continue to inspire younger generations through coaching and teaching camps.