T.J. and Brett Gudeman's parents had seen enough.

When T.J. was a freshman at Cienega and Brett was a junior, their parents put somewhat of an end to the brothers' persistent roughhousing.

"We used to wrestle on the carpet all the time," Brett said. "Then my parents were tired of bloody knees and wrestling in the grass so we got a mat in my bedroom."

Now, T.J. is a top senior wrestler for the Bobcats while Brett wrestles for the NAIA's Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

Their experiences wrestling on the carpet, on the grass and eventually on a mat in Brett's room proved invaluable, especially to the younger T.J., who also credited his oldest brother, Brock, with helping develop him as a wrestler.

T.J. is 26-6 this year for Cienega and recently placed fourth in the 160-pound bracket at the Flowing Wells Invitational. He'll be competing at Salpointe Catholic's two-day Diego Gadea Wrestling Invitational starting today.

Cienega coach Marty Niblo said T.J. has come a long way since the days when he would follow his two older brothers around the wrestling room.

"Lets put it this way: T.J. comes in, and he's a little pudge ball. Those guys would just pound on him, push him around," Niblo said.

"He picked up a lot from his brothers, but he never said anything. You can see he was absorbing everything."

Here's a look at three things that have made T.J. one of Southern Arizona's top wrestlers:

1. Approach. Cienega faced Mountain View in a dual Wednesday for Senior Night. T.J. was nervous, but that's nothing new.

Like brother Brett, he enters every match on edge. That is, until he steps onto the mat.

"I know its time to wrestle," T.J. said.

And, he gets results, like a 9-0 win in his match against the Mountain Lions. It could also help him improve on last year's third-place finish at the Division II state meet.

2. Skills. For all the wrestling and roughhousing that went on between brothers, there was a little education thrown in, too.

T.J. credits Brett with helping him develop his tilt.

"He's a real good tilter," Niblo said. "He's developing two or three really good takedowns. He's getting a lot better underneath on the bottom position."

Next year T.J will wrestle for Northwestern College, but his brother won't be joining him, as Brett plans to transfer to the UA.

"Brett and I have always been really close," T.J. said. "I think it really helped me. He was always in my corner yelling stuff to me."

3. Mindset. While T.J. admits to state championship aspirations, he also understands it's important to keep a level head.

As a sophomore, he used to plan each match in every bracket and overanalyze it. T.J. lost his first two matches at the state tournament, however; he said that was a wake-up call.

"I've come to terms with the most important match is the one right ahead, the one I'm in right now," he said.

If you go

• What: Diego Gadea Salpointe Wrestling Invitational featuring 23 teams

• When: Today and Saturday, 9 a.m.