April 23, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa softball team hosts Illinois on Tuesday in a doubleheader at Pearl Field. The two border-state league foes have met 28 times. Tuesday's twin-bill will have an added dynamic: twins... in separate dugouts.
Whitney and Katie Repole are twin sisters, and freshman student-athletes in the Big Ten Conference. The daughters of Mary and Brian, Whitney, an outfielder at Iowa, and Katie, an infielder at Illinois, will square-off in Iowa City beginning at 3 p.m.
Each will see a familiar face in the dugout across the diamond. It marks the first time in years the two will compete against each other, instead of for the same team.
"We did not play together until we were in high school," said Whitney. "I started playing softball about four years after Katie, so she started on a different team than me, and I played catch-up for a while. Once we got to high school, we played together there and on the same club team all four years."
"From a softball standpoint, we worked off each other and had each other as a 'mini-coach.' She would help me out, and I would help her out. It was great; I could not ask for a different way to grow up. I have a lot of good friends, but no one comes close to my sister."
-- UI freshman Whitney Repole
After spending years together growing up as 'the twins,' Katie and Whitney, who hail from the San Antonio area, looked at different schools coming out of high school.
"We never really wanted to go to the same school," said Whitney. "We were both ready to be our own person. Everyone is always like, 'hey the twins.' We both got recruited by a few schools, but we never wanted to go together."
"Being twins, people always compared them to each other and that made them very competitive," said Mary. "We spent the better part of their youth trying to help them understand that they didn't need to beat each other in order to win. As their teams face each other this week, they will be true competitors in every sense of the word, but the nice thing about having a daughter on each side is that the Repole family wins no matter who loses."
Whitney is grateful to have a sister like Katie, especially in the softball department.
"It is great," said Whitney. "From a softball standpoint, we worked off each other and had each other as a 'mini-coach.' She would help me out, and I would help her out. It was great; I could not ask for a different way to grow up. I have a lot of good friends, but no one comes close to my sister."
Whitney has been engaging in some good-natured fun in the weeks leading up to the twin-bill.
"It is pretty hyped up," she said. "I have been intimidating her through text messages and phone calls for a while now. Hopefully, she is scared."
The twins have grown together, and today's doubleheader is another step along the way.
"I am excited," said Whitney. "I am definitely hoping that we are on the right side of the field on Tuesday night, as far as wins go. It is going to add a whole new level of competing against each other. We always have, this is just taking it to the next step."
"We are very proud to have two daughters representing such great universities in the Big Ten and hope to have fun with the rivalry over the next four years," said Mary. "We plan on sitting in the middle of the stands on Tuesday and rooting for the 'University of I.'"
Today's doubleheader begins at 3 p.m. at Pearl Field. The second game will follow 20 minutes after the conclusion of the opener. Both games can be seen live on BTN.