For Bismarck wrestling, the time is ending for a legendary set of twins. The Tanefeu’s look to win their third straight state title in just under two weeks from now. But it’s the journey along the way, from beginners to division one wrestlers in just four years, that’s made it all worthwhile.
When Wilfried and Christian Tanefeu arrived to Bismarck from Camaroon, Africa five years ago, they knew getting involved in athletics would be important for adjusting to life in the states. With their first love soccer, it’s wrestling that became a new passion right away.
“I remember coming here our freshman year, I was just amazed,” says W. Tanefeu. “All the pictures, national championships, state champs, state placers. I just wanted my name on the wall, so that’s really what pushed me forward.”
Right from the start, the Tanefeu’s making an impact on the program.
“We knew they had talent,” says Co-head coach Jeff Schumacher “We knew about the talent that they had and their hard work, and their desire, and what they wanted to accomplish and they were enjoying it.”
Now, these twins are set to compete for their third straight state title, but it’s what they’ve learned from their parents that has shown them the way towards success.
“The dedication comes from my family, especially my mom and dad,” says C. Tanefeu. “When we moved here, we didn’t really have anything. So they taught me how to work. How hard work plays off and teaching us never to give up.”
“I our parents put all this out for us, we have to show them that we are appreciatived and pay it back to them,” says W. Tanefeu. “That’s kind of how we took it as, like it’s our goal and we just got to do it for them.”
With their parents as motivation, the brothers know honesty and tough love will only make them better.
“Christian and I would be practice partners,” says W. Tanefeu. “We’d have really good shots, and from somebody’s point of view, it would be a really good shot. But I would say, you did those bad, like we would criticize on the small stuff. So that’s really been a big help for wrestling.”
“They’re great practice partners for the other guys. They make the others guys all better. By being here and wrestling them and even showing them the other guys ‘no, no, no, do it this way, do it that way”
Their high school career’s may be ending, but it’s just the beginning on the dream of being a division one athlete. Wrestling at Michigan, something these boys from Camaroon would have never believed.
“Five years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it, I wouldn’t have believed it,” says W. Tanefeu.
“We have each other, just like we started in high school,” says C. Tanefeu. “Obviously, there will be some challenges that we’ll overcome and work hard, but I’m looking forward to it.”