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Drew & Jackson Eller: Brother Champs

By Bill X. Barron, 02/16/19, 4:00PM MST


GA's State Champs Return for RMN March Nationals

Drew and Jackson Eller (GA)

Brothers & Partners – On and Off the Mat

By Bill X. Barron – RMN Events Writer

Partners and brothers, Drew (152 lb. junior) and Jackson (138 lb. sophomore) Eller, go at it every day in the Evans High School (Georgia) practice room. “We scramble for hours on end,” says Drew, now a three-time GA state champion. “We put in extra practice and weight lifting. As brothers, we know best what moves each needs to work on. After a match, we show each other technique that could have helped beat that opponent or a future foe.”

Many years of wrestling experience later, Drew (11 years) and Jackson (9) began with Coaches Jeff Estrada and Luke Morris of Sons of Thunder Wrestling Academy in Colorado. Father Greg cites: “Credit Jeff and Luke for making sure they did moves right and in the best way.” For Jackson, 3rd in State 2018 and 2019 state champ, “wrestling has taught me how to cooperate, to value sportsmanship, to embrace teamwork, and how to be the hardest worker in the room at all times.”

Brother Drew, an early commit to Lander University (SC), emphasizes that wrestling “not only teaches dedication and hard work, but also to be aware of the importance of listening to adults. Throughout school I have always maintained a high GPA; wrestling has taught me not to slip.”

Both brothers have made history for Evans High as well as an entire region north of Augusta, GA; while the Comprehensive School is known for its academic excellence, as a freshman Drew was not only first Evans wrestler to win a match at State, but he was also their first wrestling state champion ever and the school’s first state champ in any sport since 2005. Jackson followed in 2018 as the second state championship placer (3rd) and contributed to another first: two state placers in the same year. In 2019, they created yet another first: two state champs in the same year.

Together, the Ellers have elevated the entire wrestling program and region with their work ethic, knowledge of the sport, and dedication to excellence. Evans Coach Rich Davis uses Drew to demonstrate proper technique. Through their leadership, the Evans High team qualified for their first Dual State Championships. States a proud dad: “Prior to our moving there in 2016, there were no wrestling clubs in the entire area. It’s taken three years to get there but, through the boys’ influence, there are now several clubs to choose from.”

This year the Eller brothers will return to the RMN National Championships in Denver. Growing up, Jackson and Drew wrestled in dozens of RMN events during their formative years. Drew remarks: “I remember how big the arena seemed. Every single bracket that I wrestled in from ages 6-15 was as tough as the next.” Jackson enjoyed “traveling to so many places in the West, though it was always more fun on the way home after winning a special RMN trophy or belt!”

Interestingly, the boys have found that each state has a different emphasis. While Colorado stresses attention to technique, “in Georgia there is both a different style and speed. Here they use heavy hands, based on farm-boy strength.”

In reference to the state as a whole, Drew continues: “Wrestling is in concentrated areas. We have worked to spread it across the state, because by working together we make each other tougher.” What’s unique about the Eller family – first in Colorado, now in Georgia – is their commitment and effort to not only to improve as individual wrestlers, but also to just as assiduously better their team, region, and state.

As well-rounded as they are proficient on the mat, both have higher aspirations for themselves and each will coach youth once their competitive days have concluded. Jackson has watched many relatives, including his father, pursue a career in medicine. He plans to continue this heritage by specializing in pharmacology.

Following his mother Tonya’s educational field, Drew plans to major in special education. “Buddy Club for kids with special needs is my favorite place to be. Though they are born with disabilities, I am motivated to give them a better future. I just love how happy they try to make everyone around them.”

In the Flo rankings of this year’s top college recruiting classes, Coach R.C. Lahaye’s Lander University squad is the only ranked Division II program, due to a sterling 2019-20 freshman class which included six state placers: two 2-time champs, one 1X champion, two runners-up, and a 3rd-placer. In addition, Coach Lahaye garnered the early commitment from potential four-time state champion Drew. Because he is also a top scholar, Drew received the program’s first 100-percent scholarship offer. Drew has even planned ahead to become a graduate assistant coach.

Though they have replaced hiking in the Colorado mountains with walking on the Georgia beaches, Drew and Jackson Eller
have embraced excellence everywhere they have been as students, wrestlers, and citizens. Any community fortunate enough to have the Eller brothers knows daily of the indelible impact made by these bright young leaders of our nation.

Drew (1st L), Jackson (2nd R) RMN Events

Drew 3X GA Sectional Champion

Jackson GA Sectional Champion

Drew RMN Tri-State Belt Winner

Drew (L), Jackson (R) with CO team tournament hardware

Drew & Jackson, GA State Sectional Champions 2019