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No sibling rivalry with the Hardesty twins

BY MICHELE DANNO | NOVEMBER 10, 2009 7:20 AM

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Iowa women harriers Lauren and Amanda Hardesty share basically everything — DNA, a bathroom, and a passion for running.

While sharing so much can sometimes result in the typical sibling disagreements, the identical twins agree that being both teammates and sisters keeps them close — in their relationship and on the cross-country course.

“We’ve been through a lot together,” junior Amanda Hardesty said. “As far as having that person there for you, it’s a comfort during the race. Looking over and seeing her there is comforting, and I’m grateful we can both be here together.”

Reflective of this closeness is the women’s most recent meet, the Big Ten championship held in State College, Pa., where Amanda and Lauren Hardesty set their career personal records within six seconds of each other. Lauren Hardesty set her best time at 21:32, and Amanda Hardesty set hers at 21:38.

The two ran 4 kilometers of the 6-kilometer race side by side, with Lauren Hardesty finishing third for Iowa and Amanda Hardesty finishing fifth. The pair contributed to Iowa’s sixth-place overall finish.

This has been the trend for the sisters throughout the 2009 cross-country season. At nearly every meet, the two have finished together in the top five for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa head coach Layne Anderson attributes their nearly identical success to the twins pushing each other more than other teammates.

Both Lauren and Amanda Hardesty agree having a sibling on the team makes competition more compelling. However, the women said their relationship is encouraging rather than competitive.

“I worry about her not doing well,” Lauren Hardesty said. “If I don’t see her next to me in a race, I’m like, ‘Oh, where is Amanda?’ Where she’s at is just always in the back of my head.”

Amanda Hardesty said she is glad to have her sister as a teammate rather than as a competitor, which was largely why the sisters chose to attend the same school.

At the beginning of the recruitment process, the Hardestys were unsure if they would be able to find a school that fit both of their wants and needs.

Lauren Hardesty said some of the schools they considered did not have Amanda Hardesty’s original major, which was nursing at the time.

But after their official visit to Iowa, the Indiana natives said they signed almost immediately with the program. Anderson originally heard about the talented pair through former Hawkeye runner Racheal Marchand, the Hardestys’ teammate at Valparaiso High School.

Anderson said the Hardesty’s two-for-one deal was an enticing offer for any college coach, and he took advantage of the opportunity to sign both.

Lauren Hardesty said spending four more years together was the twins’ goal before the two go their separate ways after graduation. As an international-studies major with a minor in Spanish, Lauren Hardesty’s career path differs from her sister’s plans to pursue sociology.

Anderson said he is fortunate to have another year with the Hardestys, and they continue to improve every season.

“I think they’re just beginning to scratch the surface of their potential,” Anderson said. “If they continue to work like they’ve been working, there’s a lot more out there on the horizon for them.”


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