November 28, 2012

SU Student-Athlete Siblings

By Ryan Novitsky, Assistant Athletic Communications Director

Going away to college is a major step in the path of adulthood and more often than not, a student has to experience this on his or her own with the pressures of making new friends and being in an environment completely foreign to what they are used to.

But for a select few student-athletes at Susquehanna, this transition was not as difficult as it may have been for other first-year students. The reason? They all have a sibling on campus, either playing on their team or another sport.

For starters, Paul and John Crowe are runners on the men’s cross country and track teams. One would expect siblings to be competitive in nature, but not so much for the Crowes.

“I am constantly chasing down his [Paul’s] times,” John said. “But it’s all fun and games. We push each other at practice and workouts and share the same goals in cross country and track”.

Another brother combination at SU is John and Connor Kerrigan. John, a senior on the men’s lacrosse team, gave his younger brother Connor, a football player, advice before arriving on campus.

“There is a lot on your plate as a freshman,” he said. “You need to get away from the distractions, buckle down and give yourself a few hours to study everyday because living in a dorm with hundreds of students is different.”

The Kerrigans are a bit more competitive than the Crowes, especially when it comes to the aggressive nature of being brothers as well as their respective sports.

“We have always been competitive with one another. If he did something well, I had to do it better and vice versa,” John stated. “We were constantly trying to one-up each other.

“We drove our mother crazy sometimes and I think that’s the reason my dad bought us boxing gloves – to get our anger out in a ‘safe’ way down in the basement and ‘vent’,” Connor said.

Despite the sometimes aggressive rivalry between the two, the Kerrigans plan on staying close throughout the next year and into the future away from Susquehanna.

Much like the Kerrigans, the Schetroma brothers are three years separated.  Ken, a senior All-Conference defensive tackle on the football team as well as an All-Conference selection as a field athlete in the shot put said, “we are always trying to determine who the better Schetroma brother is, which 99.9 percent of the time is me.”

The younger Schetroma, Tom, is a freshman and following in the shadow of Ken at SU, a challenge he fully embraced.

“I chose SU because it gave me the opportunity to play with Ken for another year in football and track & field. I also loved the beautiful campus and the low teacher-to-student ratio.”

But Ken knows his record-holding performances in the shot put are in trouble.

“It’s only a matter of time before my little brother knocks me down to second on the all-time list,” he said. “Tom is an excellent thrower and will do well for himself in his tenure here. I’m expecting big things out of him!”

Tom said, “we are competitive in everything we do whether it be playing video games or playing catch in the yard. We always hung around with sports-minded friends and did everything with a ‘killer instinct’ and wanted to be the best. There is a good chance both Ken and I will be throwing against each other for Landmark Conference gold.”

The elder Schetroma was excited to share his senior season with his younger brother and that their bond has strengthened with both attending SU and this would not have happened at a larger, Division I school.

“We’re both busy people so whenever we see each other, we make the most of it. Being on the same team and the small campus size helps us out with that,” Ken said. “We’ve definitely opened up more since coming here which I believe has made us closer as brothers.”

But the most unique sibling combo on campus has to be the Gilbert sisters, Lauren and Kathryn, who play softball. Believe it or not, they are not just twins, but triplets with their sister attending DI Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland.

The Gilberts lived together for 18 years growing up in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania but decided that was not enough and after Kathryn got accepted to SU, Lauren decided to go with her.

For the first two years they lived on campus together, which turned out make the transition to college life easier. Now they live off campus and according to them, get along just fine.

But being with one another is normal for the Gilberts. Over the past summer, Lauren completed an internship at the Little League World Series in Williamsport for a week and Kathryn worked back home.

“That’s the longest we were ever apart,” Lauren said. “She was lost without me.”

The Gilberts are looking forward to their senior season on the softball team, a year removed from hosting the Landmark Conference Championship as the number one seed. For one more year, they get to play on the same team, rooting for each other to succeed.

“That’s the best part of being on the same team—getting to watch each other, rooting for one another, giving confidence and sharing the memories,” said Lauren.

 “Having her on my team is a sense of comfort, and in a sense she is my spark. If we wouldn't have both decided to play softball, I would have been missing part of the spark. That is really corny but it is hard to explain the bond of multiples if you aren't a multiple,” Lauren said.

On the field, the Gilberts do not feel pressure to do better than one another, although Lauren claimed that Kathryn is a ‘genius’ after batting .394 last season, second-best on the team.

Overall, the sisters do not seem as competitive athletics wise as the other siblings do, but they do compare grades and test scores quite often, with Lauren texting Kathryn updates on exam scores.

This is nothing new for them, however, considering they had the same math class in eighth grade.

“Lauren turned around proudly after getting a test result and said ‘I got 69 out of 70’”, Kathryn explained. “And I said, ‘I got 70 out of 70.’”

Lauren and Kathryn, like the other sibling combos, embraced the Division III atmosphere.

“That’s the best part of SU—balancing academics and sports, receiving the overall college experience in a more relaxed atmosphere,” noted the Gilberts. “They value academics first and athletics don’t become your entire life.”

All the siblings knew that by attending SU they would receive a great education, have a fun social life and be able to balance a memorable athletic experience, something that would be much harder at a larger institution.

Asked if they would do it all over again, the brothers and sisters said they are happy with their choice attending SU and in doing so, have continued to add to their already tight knit bond, sharing memories with experiences on campus and in competition.

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