CHESHIRE -- Tanelle Ciempa probably had no idea how important her decision to join the Hoosac Valley girls' cross country team would be to the future of the boys' team.
If it wasn't for her, her twin brothers -- Travis and Trevor -- may not be the cross country stand-outs that they are today.
"My sister ran cross country and I didn't really want to do it at all," Travis said. "But, since she did it, I decided to join and I really liked it."
Trevor has always wanted to be like his sister.
"Even figure skating. She used to figure skate when she was younger and I thought it was cool because she did it, so I did it," he said with a smile. "She ran cross country when she got in high school, so as soon as I could, I joined the team."
Both brothers say she jokes with them about taking the credit for their success.
The sophomores have had a lot of success. Travis was named the All-Transcript MVP last season and both went to states last season. They have qualified for the Western Massachusetts meet every year they've run. Last season, Travis finished 10th at Western Mass., while Trevor took 16th. A lot of that success can be credited to the other brother.
"With out a doubt, they both make each other a lot better," Hoosac Valley coach Ron Namislo said. "They push each other and they have fun doing it."
The duo remains very competitive with each other entering their sophomore seasons.
In the early going of this season, Travis has had the upper hand once again. Only this year, it's helped by his brother nursing a leg injury to start the season.
It's not all about competition and being better than each other, though. They try to help each other improve and prepare for each race.
"Being twins has some pressure that goes with it," Trevor said. "It's because we are both really competitive. It's more of a friendly competition. We use it together to make each other better and to push each other."
Namislo sees that competition every day.
"They have some type of competition with each other, but it's controlled," Namsilo said. "They want each other to do well, but they want to beat each other. And that is great for our team success."
The duo runs together most mornings, going on light jogs to loosen themselves up for the day. They also stretch together before practices and races. When Tanelle was on the team, they would run with her and prepare for meets as well.
They just takes each day and race as they come. Both have had a lot of past success and they try not to get too bogged down with living up to that hype or competing with each other.
"Everyone expects you to do great, it's sort of a bad pressure," Travis said. "But I just say to myself at the beginning of the race right after the gun ... ‘I'm the only one running right now. It's just me and the trail,' and then I just go."
His brother uses his past success to push him forward.
"I use it as motivation to get better," Trevor said. "I compare my times and try to do better with each race. It's frustrating so far [this year] being hurt."
Only Travis will be in action today as the Hurricanes head to Mount Everett for a meet. Hoosac will be racing against the Eagles. Trevor is still nursing a leg injury, but is expected back in a week or two.