The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Seeing double

A second set of Sherry twins impacting the Connecticu­t sport scene

- Jeff Jacobs COMMENTARY

WEST HARTFORD — Older brothers Gavin and Callum, the greatest twin distance runners in state high school history, were born 90 minutes apart. They’re off to Stanford this year.

Tess and Liv Sherry, sophomore swimmers and runners at Conard High, were born one minute apart.

It seems fair to say the Sherry family keeps coming at you two by two.

“Since we’ve grown up like that, it hasn’t felt weird,” Liv said. “The biggest thing is with two sets of twins it means it’s automatica­lly a pretty big family. I’m used to having a lot of people around.”

“Gavin and Callum, me and Liv,” Tess said. “We have a built-in best buddy.”

That, and being able to wear each other’s clothes on a moment’s notice, they agree, is a big advantage in the life of 15year-old teenagers.

The identical twins are swift in the pool.

They are swift on the track. They are Swifties when they put on their headphones.

“Yeah, we both really like Taylor Swift,” Liv said. “For sure,” Tess said. Glastonbur­y’s Brooke Strauss was able to hold off both Liv and Tess by a total of .32 seconds — no more than a geneticall­y linked hair or two — in the CIAC Class LL Indoor Track Championsh­ips last weekend.

Strauss caught Liv near the end of the 1000 meters to win the title with a time of 2:58.74. Sherry finished in 2:58.97.

“I wasn’t sure if I’d try to lead it or stay a little behind, but I ended up leading for most of the race,” Liv said. “I had a pace I wanted to go and my coach was calling out the splits which was really helpful. She passed me at the end. I just couldn’t hold her off.”

Strauss then fended off Tess in the 1600 meters to win the title with a time of 5:04.05. Sherry

finished second in 5:04.16.

“I knew Brooke would be really strong,” Tess said. “I wanted to stay with her for most of it, stay with the lead pack. In the end, it was a race to the finish. I tried to pass her in the end. She got me at the finish line.”

Strauss, who won the CIAC Cross Country Open last fall, is also a 10th grader. She figures to be a thorn in the twin’s collective side for three years.

“Yeah,” Liv said. Tess nodded in agreement.

A lot like Aidan Puffer of Manchester probably felt like going against the Sherry boys for years.

The girls will meet again Saturday in the CIAC State Open. Strauss and Liv are seeded 1-2 in the 1000, with Maloney’s Bria Benigni (last year’s champion), Greenwich’s Esme Daplyn and Darien’s Julia Blake all within a second.

Strauss and Tess are seeded 2-3 behind Newington junior Katherine Bohlke (5:00.13).

“I want to try to make it to the New England’s and PR again,” Tess said. “My ultimate goal would break five minutes, but we’ll see how it goes this year.”

Liv has similar goals: Be among the top six to advance to the New Englands and another PR.

“Brooke is a really strong runner,” Liv said. “I think she’ll push me and help me go faster.”

Ted Sherry played soccer at UConn for two years before transferri­ng to play at Maine. That’s where he met Nichol, who ran cross county and track. Oldest daughter Brynn, who attends UConn, ran outdoor track at Conard, but is better known as an All-State gymnast.

The boys played soccer when they were young, ran a few road races and picked up cross country in middle school. Gavin swam through the ninth grade and has credited the time in the pool for building endurance. By 10th grade, they were fulltime runners.

The girls comparativ­ely speaking haven’t put in a ton of miles. COVID curtailed their involvemen­t in middle school. And by swimming in the fall, they haven’t run cross country in high school. They’ve been in the pool since they were six competing for the Mandell JCC Sharks.

This past fall, Tess took second in Class LL in the 100-yard breaststro­ke and Liv took fourth. Tess took fifth in the 200 IM and Liv seventh. At the CIAC State Open, Liv finished eighth, Tess 10th in the 100 breaststro­ke.

“We decided we are going to swim next fall,” Liv said. “We’ve done swimming for a really long time and don’t want to give it up just yet. It might change for the senior year. I might do cross country.”

“I’m still not sure about senior year,” Tess said. “I do really love to run.”

Swimming and running are both individual sports, they point out, yet both have relays and the twins will run in the sprint medley for Conard on Saturday.

“In swimming, you don’t get injured as much,” Liv said. “In preparatio­n, I feel like you don’t have to be as careful thinking out every one of your workouts. In both, you’ve got to get in the right mindset for your race. They’re similar in that way.

“Swimming is more sprinting for me,” Tess said. “Running in long distances. So there’s that mental toughness for endurance.”

Last year in a piece she did on the boys, Hearst Connecticu­t’s Maggie Vanoni, described Gavin as the more laid back and easy-going. He likes to draw and played the the trombone in Conard jazz band. Callum, the more calculated and bigger-picture thinker, is more into math and sciences. He learned some Norwegian to better relate to a teammate.

“I feel like I identify with both of them in different ways,” Liv said. “Gavin is sometimes quiet. Callum is more outgoing. In different settings, I feel like I can be both of those.”

“A little more similar to Gavin,” Tess said, “but both.”

The girls take the same courses, although some of their teachers are different. They say English and history are strengths, although Liv says Tess is probably better in math.

Asked what they’re pet peeve is about the other, Tess answered, “Liv is always pretty late for getting ready for school in the morning.”

Liv needed a minute. “I don’t know,” Liv said. “Tess is organized and sometimes I can’t be as organized.”

Even with Brynn at UConn and now the boys at Stanford, they continue to share the same room.

“I definitely miss them a lot,” Tess said. “The biggest thing is having an empty house. I’m used to having so many running around. That’s been a big change this year for us. So it’s definitely a lot quieter.

My brothers always used to have friends over and stuff. Now when we come home from school it’s quiet.”

Said Liv, “I miss them. It’s weird not having anyone in the house. It was chaos.”

Callum was second in the 2 mile at the 2022 New Balance Indoor Nationals in 8:50.60. He was second in the high school 3000 at the 2022 Penn Relays in 8:25.86 and second in the 1600 at the 2022 New England Championsh­ips in 4:07.13. He also was second in the State Open in the 1600 and 3200 in 2022, and second in the 2021 State Open cross country and third at the 2021 New England cross country.

Gavin was nearly unbeatable. He won multiple New England and state cross country, indoor and outdoor titles. Among his national victories, he won the 2022 New Balance Indoor Nationals two-mile (8:48.59) and Millrose game high school mile (4:06.58). Among his six state indoor records (1500, 1600, mile, 3000, 3200 and 2 mile, he ran a 4:02.69 mile. He set the state 1600 outdoor record of 4:01.88 in 2021. An injury that virtually wiped out his senior season cost him his opportunit­y to break 4 minutes.

“From both of them, seeing how much they love running and how passionate they are about it, motivates me,” Tess said. “Watching their work ethic and their races, pushing themselves it definitely inspires me.”

“I’m really proud of them,” Liv said. “They’ve both have had bad races and they always come back from them. They inspire me.”

And sometimes amuse them. Last year, Gavin teased Callum about backing into their parents’ car twice in the driveway. All true, Liv and Tess said, laughing.

The boys nearly always work out together. Same for the girls. Not all four though.

“They’re too fast for us,” Liv said. “We’ve had a few easy runs. It’s hard to keep up with them.”

As hard as it is to get Taylor Swift tickets. The twins have never seen her perform in concert.

She will be at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro and MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford in May.

Taylor, if you read this ….

“Maybe she’ll get us tickets,” one of the twins said.

They’d run to Foxboro or swim the Long Island Sound to get there.

 ?? ?? Jeff Jacobs/Hearst Connecticu­t Media The Sherry twins of Conard High.
Jeff Jacobs/Hearst Connecticu­t Media The Sherry twins of Conard High.
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