FAIRBORN — The Wright State men’s and women’s cross country teams have plenty of depth this season. They also have an ample amount of twins.
This includes Raider runners Tanner and Tyler Mathes and Victoria and Sophia Angelopoulos, who run track. Additionally, Hailey Brumfield has a twin sister, Andrew Lake is a triplet along with two sisters, and even WSU coach Rick Williamson has a twin brother.
The Mathes twins also share the same academic pursuits as biomedical engineering majors. Tyler noted there is an upside to having his brother on the team during workouts.
“The biggest benefit is always having a training partner,” Tyler said. “If the team doesn’t run together you have a person that you can run with. Outside of competition, you have someone to talk about running with.”
For Tanner, having a family member around while competing in what can be a grueling collegiate sport is helpful.
“Having someone who you’ve run with since middle school brings calmness,” Tanner said.
Tanner and Tyler feel that there isn’t a competition to see who can run faster times.
“It’s less competition, and more encouragement. I’d never be upset if he (Tanner) beat me,” Tyler said.
“Most of the time, people don’t know who got the actual time anyway, so anything he does I get the credit for,” Tanner said jokingly. “I compare myself to other people, because I feel like whatever he does can reciprocate in my life.”
Victoria admitted there is a competitiveness that exists between her and Sophia.
“I think Sophia and I are pretty competitive,” Victoria said while laughing. “It doesn’t get bad, but I’m kind of glad we do separate events.”
Being teammates with her sister does have a positive that no one else on the team can provide, Victoria added.
“We have similar strengths and weaknesses,” Victoria said. “We know each other so well that we can help each other and encourage each other like no one else on the team could.”
Sophia agreed that she competes with her sister at nearly everything, especially when trying to meet the standard she sets as part of their 1,600-meter relay team. However, she says it helps to have someone to push her and look up to.
“Victoria is really motivating, and I look up to her a lot,” Sophia said. “I want to be more like her, because she is such a good runner, and nothing will stand in her way.”
The presence of her sister at meets is also beneficial, according to Sophia.
“It’s really helpful and comforting when we go to meets together,” Sophia said. “I feel more relaxed when she is there.”
Brumfield’s sister Meredith is a soccer player at Asbury University in Kentucky. She says her motivation to become a runner started in middle school was after attending her sister’s meets in seventh grade.
The Brumfields ran on the same team in eighth grade.
“I didn’t know a lot about running at that time. I just knew that I wanted to keep up with her (Meredith) and push myself,” Hailey said. “She taught me how to work hard and train my best. My favorite memory was running races together, being happy for each other no matter how we did and being supportive.”
Today, Hailey helps her sister with one-mile fitness runs for soccer. Even though the sports are different, she explained the similar mentalities make it possible for them to give each other advice.
“Right now, she (Meredith) is going through an injury, and I went through injuries earlier,” Hailey said. “I understand where she is coming from, so I’ve been helping her out with that. We try to tell each other to stay mentally tough, and even through the hard work it’s going to pay off in the end.”
Lake’s two sisters played volleyball in high school. He says the competitive nature of their sport sparked his interest in running.
“If it wasn’t for competing, I probably wouldn’t like running as much,” Lake said. “Being raised with that type of mentality in the family made me who I was.”
This past weekend at the Friendship Invitational in Cedarville, the Raider men and women finished third and first respectively. Both teams will look to continue their winning ways, and these twins will probably be an important part of that.
Story courtesy of Alan Hieber of Wright State University Athletics.