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Three childhood friends tackle life at RU

Updated: Jan 18

By Jasmine Moore

Staff Writer

Rochester University freshman Kirgin Tanis and twin sophomores Jailen and Jaiden Tatum became friends in 2012 after attending the Wildcat Youth Wrestling Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kirgin’s father was the coach of the wrestling club and took the Tatum brothers under his wing.


“Kirgin’s dad was like a father to us…he took us in for wrestling purposes and Kirgin’s been our brother ever since," Jailen Tatum said.

This was the first chapter of the boys’ story together, where they took their first leap into friendship and where they learned the sport of their dreams.


The three became great friends despite going to separate schools. They would hang out regularly and spend their days playing video games and going to Skyzone.

“One of my most vivid memories was going to wrestling tournaments where we would stay at hotels and we’d just have Nerf gun fights all night long,” Jaiden Tatum said.

The boys would play and fight, but never gave up on one another. Their friendship continued to grow. Soon the trio’s friendship developed into something that was incomparable to others and grew deeper once they attended Northview High School together.

They continued wrestling throughout high school and spent free time together too. The trio taught each other life lessons in the same way that they taught each other new wrestling moves.


“We learned from each other, and that’s how we got better. We all became better versions of ourselves and we couldn't have done it without each other,” said Jailen Tatum.

Now, all three have committed to Rochester University with the intent to wrestle. The Tatum brothers committed last fall. Kirgin, after encouragement from the twins, committed this fall. He couldn’t pass up the opportunity to wrestle alongside his brothers once more.


Tanis said, “They stuck by my side through all highs and lows, they really are my brothers for life.”


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