“We always want to beat each other”
Edwards Twins, Cross Country/ Track stars, compete to triumph on the field
October 10, 2017
The temperature of the September afternoon just inches over 90 degrees. The weather and hazy, smoky air shapes this practice up to be a long, hard-fought battle. The Big Sky Cross Country team has already been running for nearly two hours. However, the star twins of the team, Maddie and Mckenna Edwards, retain their composure as they hit the last stretch.
Both have different mindsets, but the ultimate goal remains the same: Win.
Competition is a must in team sports, and if there are any two people who know how to push each other to the limit, it’s these two. Training all throughout the year (five days a week in the summer) is a standard for these two to stay as good as they are. Especially with these two spending so much time together running and just in daily life, continual competition is expected in a sport with such great intensity.
Although these two athletes have deep competition between each other it is their love for the sport and for each other that keeps each of them invested in their relationship of long distance running. The Edwards twins have outstanding talent when on the track, but their dedication, hard work and — yes — competition surpass the miles they run.
The competition between the Edwards twins on the surface is mostly talked about in a joking, fun manner.
Under it all, though, the quest for greatness goes far deeper. The aggressiveness they have toward being better than the other has for the most part brought them closer together physically and emotionally.
This upcoming season will be the first year the twins will truly go head to head. Maddie recently improved her times to catch up with Makenna. The competition factor in their running was almost non-existent until this year. This sudden shift in spacing has put the two to almost always be on the same pace in practices, personal runs and even meets.
The Cross Country season this year is still young, but in the most recent meet the gap is evidently closing. On September 15th of this year, in the Great Falls Invitational, the split in time was thirteen seconds. Last year in that same meet the time gap was two minutes and five seconds.
Along with that, in the sixteen Cross Country meets the two have participated in Makenna has finished eleven times in the top fifteen. While Maddie has finished five times in the top fifteen. However in the first two meets of 2017 Makenna has finished third and fifth. Maddie finished ninth and sixth in those same meets.
Makenna is always excited for her sister to do well, but she’ll have you know that “I still want to be number one.” Teammates and friends of the Edwards twins Brookie Gee and Macayla Peterson agree that “the twins definitely push others around them to be better, but it’s also their kindness toward others that make them such great athletes and people in general.”
The closeness in times isn’t the only thing pushing them to go faster. A big part of it is also having someone right there with you. “It’s a makes it a lot easier to run in a race if I have a teammate to run with, because if they’re there, then I know I should be right there too” Mckenna explains.
On the flip side of things, there is a little bit of the newly formed rivalry between the two. Maddie admits, “We talk smack to each other a lot right before races” (before Kenna reminds her that “she hasn’t beat me in an official race in the past two years”). The two tend to joke back and forth about such things often, and it is harmless, for the majority, but also tends to add a little spark to the rivalry.
Maddie finishes the conversation by saying “ I’m coming back Kenna, don’t worry.”
Struggles and Motivation
For these two, motivation is something they have both had to find for themselves. It also should be no surprise that they face quite some pressure from their coaches, peers and the crowd watching.
Kenna finds that motivation through love of the distance and running. Kenna says simply though, “There are a lot of meets in Track and Cross Country, so it makes it hard to try hard at every single meet, but I do.”
Maddie, as aforementioned, has found motivation in catching up with her sister. Maddie’s main conflict with Cross Country is pretty basic as well: “It’s so far.”
As a result, the main problem Maddie has is just keeping that motivation the whole race.
The hard work and dedication they put into the sport definitely does not go unnoticed. Track coach Dan Nile said “I have no doubt that with their hard work and their year-round dedication that as they develop they will be some of the top runners in the state.”
Both girls are already getting to be well established leaders within their Cross country and Track team. “When you get kids with great coachability and they stick with it, it’s almost certain they will be great leaders in the sports they play,” said Nile. “Leaders cannot be lazy.”
Balancing all year racing along with clubs they participate in and doing homework can be difficult. They make sacrifices in being involved in racing but they explain that just like everything else you “just get used to it.” They certainly emphasize that it is well worth it to do something that they both love and are good at.
There’s one way the twins remind themselves to work hard in all aspects of their lives. That is, as their coaches often say, “the faster you run the faster you’re done.”