Rigorous rivals: Schermerhorns see best competition at home | Sports
TRAVERSE CITY – Twin siblings Sara and Michael Schermerhorn don’t know who was born first.
Their parents won’t tell them.
That’s pretty fitting, considering how the two Traverse City West stars have faced each other since they debuted on October 14, 2003.
The 17-year-olds each play three sports, which overlap only during the athletic season. They also happen to play all three very well.
âI just asked Sara this summer, ‘So who’s the oldest? âSaid Emily Baumann, TC West volleyball coach. “And she said, ‘My mother won’t tell us.'”
It was actually several minutes apart, but only his parents and the doctors and nurses in the Mayo Clinic room in Rochester, Minn., Could officially dispute it. The twins – who moved to Michigan when the twins were 6 months old – don’t even seem worried about solving the matter.
âI wondered why label them who is the middle child or the youngest? Lisa Schermerhorn said. “I told them they were out at the same time.”
Michael defines himself as a “producer”, making short films and clips of many adventure sports, from surfing to mountain biking to skiing. Sara frequently uses the camera or drives the boat.
The two both produce in their various sporting activities.
Michael plays football, hockey and on the track. Sara plays volleyball, basketball and jogs. Between them, they made the Record-Eagle dream teams in five of those six sports.
With six sports going (and technically seven), they don’t see each other often, but always stay close. While Sara helped out at the Titans’ youth volleyball camp this summer, Michael made sure to hit the gym after a morning workout to say hello to his sister.
âI like that they don’t focus on just one sport,â said TC West hockey coach Jeremy Rintala. âThey are very special athletes who don’t come very often. My daughter is in fifth grade and she says, “I want to be like Sara Schermerhorn, play volleyball and basketball and run on the track.”
Michael was selected as a second-year team captain, a role he has held ever since. Rintala said he was a true leader in the locker room, joining Jake Saxton as the second three-year team captain in Titans hockey history.
âWe knew he was going to be a serious athlete,â Rintala said. “He was more physically mature than the other freshmen, but he also had a work ethic.”
Sara, too, has been captain of the volleyball team for two years.
âAthletes in three sports are special,â said West athletic director Jason Carmien. âThey can juggle school, social and athletic work. Our student leaders are often athletes of three sports.
Each will have obtained 11 letters by the end of their final year, quite a feat in a class A school.
Michael centered the Titans’ front row with Tyler Esman and Murphy Kehoe last year, producing 13 goals and 23 assists. He plays linebacker and tailback in football and achieved Dream Team status in both.
Michael also started playing football last year when football was suspended due to COVID-19 and the season was in question. Even when football resumed three weeks later, he remained on the pitch as a role player in home games for a Titans team that qualified for the Division 1 State Championship game. .
Sara broke two school records on the track – the 200-meter sprint (25.64) in the Record-Eagle / John Lober Honor Roll Meet and the quartet of 800 relays that set school marks, from the Big North Conference and the honor roll. She placed 15th in the state in the 200 and won BNC crowns in the 100 and 200.
Michael ran a 23.3 in the 200 last spring, a time that would place him among the top sprinters of several other teams in the area. He even made the high jump team final when Jon O’Connor was out with a hip problem. It was his first time competing in the high jump.
âWatching his sister break an academic record, he also wants to compete in a sprint relay,â said Jason Morrow, assistant track and field coach for TC West, who also coaches Michael as the Titans’ defensive coordinator. âMike is going to have a big senior year. You can’t ask for two better kids.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t compete with each other. Far from there.
âWhen the two are together, they’re always bickering with each other,â said West’s Ally Jo McKenna, a teammate with Sara on the volleyball team. âThey are so competitive.
Yet Michael sometimes stands on the starting blocks for Sara during track and field competitions. She would do the same for him, but he far outweighs her.
Coincidentally, he stood on her blocks during the honor roll meet where she broke West’s 200-yard record.
âI told her to break the record, and she did,â said Michael. âI should get something for that. “
“Michael and Sara are kind of opposites,” said Will Gaston of West, who starts out as a cornerback in football. âMichael is a talkative guy. Sara is pretty calm, but when Michael drives her crazy, that changes. I’ve never seen her angry with Michael.
The two only face each other directly in the classroom, and even that is incredibly close. Sara has a GPA of 3.90 and Michael is narrowly trailing at 3.88.
âThey’re both very quiet, but pretty competitive,â Morrow said. âThey grew up to encourage each other, when they were very competitive at the start. It’s a place where they really matured.
At a younger age, Sara took more control, even throwing Michael’s shoes for him.
âI think she can beat me in a 3 point contest now,â said Michael.
Both feed off each other’s accomplishments, wanting to equal or improve their sibling.
âFor me, the motivation is in the competition,â said Michael. âIt’s a big part of it. âYou have this, well I have that. “
âThere are always fun competitions, whether it’s scores or sports,â said Sara. “Like, ‘You lost to (TC) Central and we won.'”
Coincidentally, their mom Lisa graduated from Portage Central and her dad Tom went to Portage Northern, so they know all about rivalries.
âThey support each other, but they talk a lot,â said Lisa Schermerhorn. “They are in a healthy and competitive relationship.”
In college, Sara beat Michael in the 400 meters. “We don’t need to talk about it,” he joked.
Morrow has been helping Sara in Titan Training since her first year and has noticed her steady progress. Michael is in Morrow’s zero hour practice class, and Morrow said he hasn’t seen any of them miss a practice session yet.
âThey’re always doing something, whether it’s track and field or on the water,â Gaston said. âNever just hang around. “
Morrow said he often greeted either of the twins – it doesn’t matter which – by asking how the best athlete in the family was, getting varying responses in return.
Sometimes the answer is their parents. (Tom played football at West Point; Lisa played golf, basketball and volleyball).
âThey’re non-stop every morning,â Lisa said. âWe are a lot on the fly. It’s not uncommon to make three trips to high school a day in the summer. We must divide and conquer, my husband and I.
Michael usually leaves at 6 a.m. for hockey practice and Sara leaves around the same time for Titan practice.
âIf you ask everyone on the team who is the hardest worker, everyone would say Michael Schermerhorn,â Morrow said.
West’s volleyball coach Emily Baumann echoes those feelings for Sara.
âWe adore her and her family,â Baumann said. âShe’s going to be a stallion for us. In the first year, she was so calm. She has become such a leader for us now.
Not just a leader, but a leader in a team with high expectations. The Titans volleyball team returns six seniors, with Becky Lane, McKenna, Makenna Ebling, Alaina Mikowski and Maddy Neu joining Schermerhorn as a passer.
McKenna was actually friends with Michael first at Willow Hill Elementary, since she became Sara’s best friend. They played North Storm soccer and North Shore Volleyball together and the three played together on a co-ed volleyball team in the fourth grade.
âShe doesn’t say much in big groups,â McKenna said, âbut when she does, it’s the funniest thing.â
The two have played volleyball together every year since fourth grade, both attending college in grade one. This bond has created a great trust between the ferryman of the Titans and the libero, who must work together almost in every piece. McKenna leads the defense, while Schermerhorn coordinates the attack, and the two need an almost seamless transition to work to their maximum performance.
Being fraternal twins brings its own challenges – or humorous incidents.
“I get, ‘Wait, Michael, are you a twin? “All the time,” said Michael. âPeople don’t even realize we’re related. I understand that I look a lot like him. I don’t know how to take this.
“I don’t understand much,” Sara joked.
Best of all: When people ask if they are the same. Michael is 6 feet tall and weighs around 195 pounds. Sara is 5 feet 6 inches tall.
Or when people find out they are twins instead of âjustâ siblings.
âPeople were like, ‘Oh, you’re not Michael’s sister anymore,’â Sara joked.
A small consolation in a hectic year in the face of COVID was the twins’ winter schedules that worked well where Michael’s hockey team and Sara’s volleyball team enjoyed opposing slates and the two got to see most. of their siblings’ home contests during the regular season.
This year may not be so perfect, but the family is used to being busy.
For example, Sara plays volleyball at Alpena the day before their birthday. Michael goes to Marquette for football the next day. It’s almost an eight-hour drive for both games, with an 18th anniversary to celebrate the smack dab between the two.
The Schermerhorns don’t have a history of twins in the family, so the twins were a surprise.
Their older sister Samantha graduated from the West in 2019, she currently plays volleyball and track at Hope College.
But even though they are in competition, Sara said she was glad Michael wasn’t Michelle instead.
âI’m pretty happy to have a boy twin and not a girl twin,â Sara said. âIt would be much easier to fight with a twin. We were fighting over clothes. It would be a different dynamic. People would compare you more.
Michael lost 20 pounds when he contracted COVID-19 after the hockey season. In order to keep the twins’ competition going, he passed it on to his sister.