What are the chances of tying for first in a 100-meter hurdle race? What are the chances of tying your twin sister? What about doing it more than once?
For Connetquot’s Madelyn and Mikayla Kowalevich, the answer is pretty likely. They tied in the 100-meter hurdles at 16.2 seconds during a dual meet for the second time this season. The first time it happened, in April, they set their best marks at 15.9, showing their progression through the sport together.
“It’s kind of funny because we both try to get away from each other, but we stay in sync,” Mikayla said.
The pair hasn’t always been focused on hurdling, coach Jim Crowley said. They joined the team as freshmen looking to sprint and be part of the team. But after Mikayla decided she wanted to try hurdles, they both went for it. There were a few skeptics because they’re both 5 feet tall and competing in a sport that values height. it takes them four steps to run between hurdles instead of the usual three.
“Proving people wrong has brought pride to do something that nobody thought we could,” said Madelyn, who’s older by one minute.
Getting to that point wasn’t easy, they said. After three years of running cross-country and track, the sisters realized they had potential in hurdling and that they needed to focus on that to succeed. They spent last summer practicing five days a week with hurdles coach Bill Waring and stopped running cross-country.
“Every day we worked on the little things and just getting those little things better and better made us better overall,” Madelyn said.
Those little things broke down the event into pieces and included exercises like trail leg drills, which focuses only on bringing a leg over the hurdle. Once the identical twins got onto the track, it was hard to pull them away for anything else.
“I need to sometimes go down and make them stop hurdling,” Crowley said. “They will hurdle until we stop them.”
It helps to have your lifelong friend by your side while you’re working. They’re competitive in races, but somehow always end up running side-by-side.
“Having a built in best friend and just being around them so much, bringing that on the track it’s so much more encouraging to have someone by your side all the time,” Madelyn said.
The commitment has paid off. Their goal of helping the shuttle hurdle relay team qualify for the national championship meet is within reach. They’re .7 seconds off the mark of 66 seconds and their coaches have committed to get them to any meet that will help them qualify.
“We couldn’t have done anything without the hours they put into us,” Madelyn said. “They came in early in the morning and stayed late at night.”
The sisters are planning to run in college, but before that happens, they’re going to keep trying to outrun each other.
“You always want to be the better twin,” Mikayla said.