Twins Nick and Caroline Forbes helped lead Northern to a team title at the York University Indoor Track Meet last weekend.
Northern finished first among the 53 Ontario schools participating in the event – an exhibition meet which serves as the unofficial kick-off for the 2016 high school track season.
“We’re pleased. It was a good start to our season,”said Northern coach Mark Scott, adding the Vikings had won the event several times in the past – but it had been three years since they claimed the championship.
Scott said the York meet is a good way to ease into the track season.
“It’s an indoor meet, so shot put is the only throwing event,” said Scott. “It includes all three jumps and a selection of running events that are slightly shorter distances (i.e. a 60m dash instead of 100m and 300m run in place of 400m, etc.).
“It lets the young kids gain some valuable experience,” on a bigger stage, he said.
Seven Northern athletes had first-place finishes at the meet, including: Kelly Hodgins (Senior Girls 60m hurdles), Sebastian Smith (Senior Boys Long Jump), Niles Crews (Senior Boys High Jump), Andrew Davies (Junior Boys 2000m) and Alec Trusler (Junior Boys Triple Jump) while Smith, Davies, Gabe Barnes, Jonathan King, Sarah Riser, Jenna Wilkins, Lauryn Hibma, Lauren Perkins and Kaylee White added top-3 finishes in various events.
And then there was Forbes and Forbes.
They pulled off a unique double-win, each racing to first-place finishes in the Junior 1500m events.
Coach Scott said Caroline Forbes (who was also 2nd in the Junior Girls 2000m and 3rd in the Junior Girls 600m) and Nick Forbes (who was 2nd Junior Boys 600m and 5th in the Junior Boys 300m) are the first set of brother-sister twins he has ever coached.
“They’re great kids,” said Scott. “They’re good athletes and good students… They work hard. They probably train 6-7 days a week.”
The great results were especially encouraging for Caroline, said Scott, because she has been dealing with a couple of different injuries, dating back to last summer.
What makes their story even more remarkable is that the Grade 10 students have only been running competitively for two years.
“We started running in Grade 8, because we had to do cross country for gym class,” said Caroline. “I played travel soccer since I was 10, so I guess thought I was in ‘OK shape’ but I didn’t expect to be really good.”
She was. She won the first cross country meet she entered and has won many more since.
Her brother Nick’s emergence as a runner was even less likely. He didn’t play travel soccer – in fact he didn’t play any sports at all.
“No … and I hated running,” he said. But once he started he was also an immediate success.
While their running resumes are similar, the twins’ racing specialties mean their profiles aren’t quite ‘identical’.
Caroline excels at slightly longer distances and will race in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m this season. And she prefers cross country to track. Nick, meanwhile, said he definitely prefers track (and field – he even tried discus last year) and will race the 400m, 800m and 1500m this year.
The LKSSAA track and field season officially gets under way on April 19 at Petrolia’s LCCVI.