Wednesday, April 14, 1999
Its double trouble
Kamehameha's three setsBy Cindy Luis
of twins give the Warriors' girls'
track team a triple threat
Opponents do a double-take when watching the Kamehameha Schools girls' track team warm up. With three sets of twins competing, the Warriors give new meaning to the term "triple threat."
Sisters Robyn and Jenny DeHay, Tara and Trisha Hibbs, and Shawna and Shanell Kawasaki have traded their soccer cleats for racing flats. Coach Pete Meindertsma's biggest challenge is not trying to tell the twins apart; it's trying to get the multi-sport athletes together for a practice.
The DeHays compete on an elite soccer team and Jenny DeHay is also on the Kamehameha tennis team. The Hibbs are playing team handball and are going to the Junior Olympics later this month. Shanell Kawasaki works part-time afternoons and weekends.
"Plus it's hard getting them all together because we're bussing to Moanalua and UH to practice since our track is torn up," said Meindertsma.
"But it's fun having them and it's been interesting. You watch each set and see that each twin doesn't want to be outdone by the other.
"I used to have a hard time telling them apart. They'd wear the same things, wear their hair the same. But you notice their different running styles and learn who's who."
Something else compounds the confusion. Each set of twins likes the same events: the Kawasakis run the 800 and compete in the triple jump and long jump; the Hibbs run the 400 and 4x400 relay; the DeHays run relays and hurdles.
"On the relays, I usually hand off to my sister," said Tara Hibbs. "Sometimes, it freaks out the other teams when they see that happening.
"I don't have a hard time telling the other twins apart. Maybe it's because I'm one that I can see the differences easier."
It was tougher during the soccer season, according to Warriors' coach Michelle Nagamine.
"It is funny to see the look on the opponents' faces," said Nagamine. "With the DeHays, one was a forward and one a fullback. An opponent would look at Robyn then spin around and see Jenny. It's like, 'Didn't I just see you over there?'
"The nicest thing is I've been led into the world of twins. They may look alike but they are individuals with their own personalities. We've become very twin-sensitive."
"It's fun having other twins on the team," said Shawna Kawasaki. "But it doesn't feel different to me. I don't know what it's like not to have a twin."
"The one thing that having the sisters has epitomized is the affection, the ohana feeling," said assistant track coach Karyl Jones, who also coaches cross country. "They are so supportive of each other and their teammates. Everyone looks at them as being the same but one will be stronger in one event than the other. They're as supportive of those strengths as they are the weaknesses."
And it ups the competitive quotient.
"Every day you go to practice and there's someone to compete against," said Robyn DeHay.
"Jenny and I are so competitive. Every day is a race. It's harder for me when she isn't at practice."
All six young women are outstanding students who hope to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
The Hibbs, both seniors, are looking at walking on at BYU for soccer; the Kawasakis, also seniors, may end up running cross country.
The DeHay sisters are juniors and apparently have the best shot at playing Division I soccer.
"Robyn has the potential to be an outstanding track athlete," said Meindertsma, "but I think soccer is where she has her interest."
Meindertsma expects all six to qualify for the state meet next month.
Double trouble? He certainly hopes so.