by Tyler Dencker
In sports history, there have been many pairs of siblings that have played a sport at the professional level. Recently, NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning have dominated the NFL. Together, they have a combined four Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl rings in the past seven years.
No one can forget Serena and Venus Williams, who have dominated tennis for years.
Here is a list of three talented pairs of athletic siblings in high school, who have all achieved varsity status and competed in various varsity matches.
For years, Scotch Plains and Fanwood have taken pride in their varsity soccer teams. Both the boys and girls teams have won multiple county championships in the past ten years.
Junior Dan Babis and his sister, sophomore Caroline, are in their second year on their respective varsity soccer teams.
“Playing on the soccer team during the same season as my brother is really beneficial because it creates a fun competition for us that we both enjoy,” said Caroline.
Although they support each other, they are always attempting to earn bragging rights.
“If Caroline scores, I have to score. If she has an assist, I have to have two assists. It is always a competition with me; that’s just my personality,” said Dan. “However, I am competitive with everyone, not just my sister.”
Despite their competitive nature, neither lets it interfere with their relationship.
“When Dan does something good on the field, I am happy for him of course, and I’m never looking to one-up him,” said Caroline. “We are playfully competitive but nothing serious.”
Both Caroline and Dan were disappointed by their teams’ early exit from the state tournament and are now focused on the spring season with their respective club teams.
Rodgers-Soccer and Tennis
Junior Jeffrey Rodgers has played first singles on the boys varsity tennis team since his freshman year. This past spring, he won the Union County Tournament title as an individual. His sister, freshman Christina, made the girls varsity soccer team as a freshman and also achieved a spot in the starting lineup.
“It is an interesting feeling walking through the halls knowing your sibling is on a varsity sport also,” said Jeffrey. “It brings a unique feeling to our name.”
“We both work so hard on improving, whether working together or separately,” said Christina. “It’s nice knowing that all of our work paid off.”
Christina has always had soccer as part of her future plans.
“The only dream that I have right now is to play college soccer,” said Christina.
Jeff looks to continue playing tennis for as long as he can as well.
“I see myself playing tennis until I die. Tennis is looked at as a lifetime sport because you can play even when you are very old,” said Jeffrey. “My goal is to be playing when I’m 80.”
Haas- Bowling, Golf, and Tennis
Juniors Jeremy and Matthew Haas play multiple sports for the school. Both siblings compete on the high school’s varsity bowling team during the winter, while in the spring, Matthew starts for the varsity tennis team, and Jeremy starts for the golf team.
Matthew was the only Raider bowler to qualify individually for the state tournament, while Jeremy was one of two Raiders to qualify individually for state sectionals in golf. Jeremy was also part of the first Raider team in 32 years to win the state sectionals tournament.
“I feel extremely proud that my twin is on the varsity golf team. He has worked so hard and put so many hours into practice and deserves to be on that team,” said Matthew. “His dedication is admirable and he is an amazing golfer.”
The brothers also offer each other encouraging advice and training as the season goes on.
“I try to play tennis against him as much as I can to help him improve and stay in top form,” said Jeremy. “No matter how he plays, I make sure he knows there are always good days and there are always bad days.”
The twins are eager to bowl in the winter and then prepare for their respective spring seasons.
“The Haas brothers both bring a lot of enthusiasm to the bowling team. Their energy is infectious to each other and their teammates,” said bowling coach Ryan Goracy. “Matt has the potential to shoot big numbers and Jeremy consistently puts together a solid performance. I expect both brothers will be big contributors to this year’s team.”