Like a great number of twins, it’s natural for Marie and Frank Naudus to share similar interests.
But as they prepare for the Catholic High School Athletic Association’s return to high school sports on Long Island and the cross-country season it’s the level at which the brother-sister duo excels that makes them a truly unique set of twins.
Attending different schools — Frank at Chaminade and Marie at Sacred Heart — the seniors enter the season with expectations of cementing themselves as two of the elite runners in the league. Frank is the top returner from the 2019 Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA league championships, where he placed second for the boys (13 minutes, 13.64 seconds) on the 2.5-mile course, while Marie finished fourth for the girls (16:09.99) and is the second-fastest returner in the same event.
"It’s very cool," said Frank, who is also the fastest Long Island returner from the 2019 CHSAA intersectional championships following a 12th-place finish (13:22.70). "My parents keep making jokes about us both being so good. Going back to freshman year, they said they had a feeling this was going to happen."
After Frank began running competitively in the Catholic Youth Organization as a third-grader, Marie began receiving inquiries about giving it a shot of her own. Although they rarely train together nowadays or share any running tips with each other, Marie and Frank have a fun sibling rivalry that gives them both a competitive edge.
"We really push each other a lot," said Marie, who is also the top returning Long Islander from last season’s CHSAA intersectional championships, where she placed eighth in 16:10.90. "Especially at meets if he goes first and then I know what place I have to finish in to do better than him. It’s a lot of fun and it really helps both of us improve."
Both are thrilled to return to the cross-country scene after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that fall high school sports deemed low-risk by the state could begin practicing on Sept. 21 and competing on Oct. 9. Nassau and Suffolk counties both postponed high school sports until 2021, but the CHSAA will participate in cross country, boys and girls soccer, flag football, girls tennis and girls swimming.
"We’re just so happy to get back out there and compete and spend time with our friends again," Marie said.
CHSAA runners to watch
Kelly Parker, St. Anthony’s, Sr.
Parker enters the fall season as the fastest returner in the 2.5 mile run (16 minutes, 5.86 seconds) from last year’s NSCHSAA league championships, which earned her second place overall.
Sabrina Spezia, St. John the Baptist, Sr.
Spezia finished seventh in the 2.5 mile run at the league championships last season (16:40.77), the third-fastest returning time entering 2020.
Helen Moloney, Sacred Heart, Sr.
Moloney looks to build upon a strong 2019 season in which she placed ninth in the 2.5 mile run (17:01.14) in the league championships, making her the fourth-fastest returner this fall.