Men's Cross Country

Two brothers. Two very different sports. One strong bond.

Two brothers. Two very different sports. One strong bond.
Diablo Valley College offensive lineman Rangel Lowry is a pulverizing run blocker and a Division I prospect at 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds. 
His older brother, Keith, is a Vikings cross country standout at 6-foot-2 and slim. 
Toughness runs in the Lowry family, it turns out.  
"We're very close," Rangel said of him and Keith. "A lot of people would think I'm the tougher one being the bigger one, but he basically steers me straight. He's definitely been a big role model for me.'" 
The brawny left guard and the distance runner will both face beefy tests this weekend. The Vikings football team (4-3, 2-0 Bay 6) will travel to powerful City College of San Francisco (6-1, 2-0) on Saturday, and the men's cross country squad will vie in the Big 8 Conference meet in Santa Rosa on Friday.  
The Lowry brothers are part of a five-star Vikings family. 
Their mom, Theresa Flores-Lowry, is a DVC kinesiology professor with 25 years of college softball coaching experience, 15 at DVC and 10 at the University of the PacificHer husband, Keith, played semi-pro basketball and is longtime local coach. 
Flores-Lowry says her son Keith, 22, has been competing in open racesbut wanted to run in college. He's off to a flying start his freshman season, including placingsecond behind teammate Benjamin Bennett at the Pat Ryan Invitational in Santa Rosa.  
"Rangel likes to mix it up," she says. "He is a gentle giant. He loves to be physical." 
And if Rangel, a Freedom High graduate and former two-time CIF State wrestlermisses a block in a game, he's sure to hear about from a certain runner. 
"In athletics, he's my biggest fan and then my worst critic," Rangel said of his brother. "He'll let me know when I have a bad game. 'Come on, man. What are you doing?You could have got that guy. That was a bad pull,' or 'That was an awesome pull.'He'll let me know how I did." 
Rangel, who carries a 4.0 grade point average and is studying Pyschology, knows that "toughness" is a relative term in sports. Keith cuts a different physical cloth, but his dedication to fitness, and eating, is impressive. 
"He runs at least 80 miles a week to stay in shape," Rangel said. "If he were to only run four miles a week -- people don't realize that he eats probably more food than I do -- he would be up to 290 pounds and he'd be shredded because he does push-ups, sit-ups. He's constantly doing every little thing to get better. A lot of people just look at me and him: 'How can he be so skinny? … Do you even let your brother eat? You hog all the food?'" 
But the brothers' differences don't stop at the dinner table. They don't resemble each other all that much. 
"A lot of people don't even understand how we’re brothers, because he has red hair and he's a lot more tan than me, and I have black hair and I'm pail-skinned a little bit," Rangel said. 
In just his fifth year of footballRangel, known as a soft-spoken gentleman around the Vikings athletic department, receives top instruction from offensive line coach Geordan Arenal. But he backs it up with a dedicated approach. 
"He's a guy that just puts his hard hat on, brings his lunch box and just goes to work everyday," head coach Mike Darr said of Rangel. "Every single day he walks in here,and he says, 'Excuse me, coach, would it be OK if I grab the projector?' It's the same way every time, polite. He's 6-4, 305 and a state wrestler, but just the nicest guy off the field you're gonna find. He doesn't talk. He doesn't get caught up in the chipping that goes on during games; he just grinds guys up week after week." 
The DVC offensive line has been so beat-up this season that Rangel has been moving around a lot.  
Hhas been teaming up front with three converted defensive linemen, and a running back has been playing left tackleIn practice Rangel has played center, right guard and right tackle 
But in typical form, he sees all the transitioning as an opportunity to improve. 
"It's been fine, because the more positions you play on the offensive line, it definitely kind of helps," he said. "You kind of see things differently from the right side to the left side, from guard to tackle. ... To be well-rounded is a lot better than just to be singular." 
Despite all the injuries, the Vikings have the top-ranked passing offense in the state, led by quarterback Drew Anderson and wideouts CJ Cornwell and MarcusArmstrong-Brown. DVC crushed winless Foothill 52-13 last week. 
Rangel says his mom has had a big influence on his developmentAfter starting in wrestling at age 9, he was taking his lumps against bigger and older guys and losing confidence, when his mom assured him that things would eventually level out and he would start "tearing it up," he recalled. 
Mom was right.  
He went on to earn three consecutive Bay Valley Athletic League wrestling championships, including winning 33 consecutive matches to start his junior year at Deer Valley. He had a 2-2 record at the 2014 CIF state tournament, before transferring as a senior to Freedom. 
"She said that when you want something and you have a goalyou're going to have to put everything fully into it," Rangel said. "If you're going to do a sport, you can't take the offseason as an offseason. You've got to do things in the offseason to better yourself for the coming season. You've got to stay true in your academics. You can't be a dumb jock. You've got to a scholar athlete." 
Moreover, his extensive wrestling background has proved to be a perfect complement for football
Rangel, who also earned a second degree black belt, feels he became mentally tough during all those rigorous three-hour practices and 12-hour days at strange gyms for tournaments. 
"I'm used to competing with more aggression because it's one-on-one," Rangel said. "You're out there in the open. You don't have 10 other guys to be around you and blame somebody else if you got pinned in 30 seconds, which I did sometimes. That's on you." 
He added that his wrestling mindset forced him to "put all of my effort and work into football, saying, 'OK, now it's a team sport, but if I make sure that I'm the best I can be, it's definitely going to help the offensive line and the offensive team in general." 
Clearly, Rangel and his brother are driving hard toward the goal line, and the finish line too.