Track and field is an individual sport – and the biggest competition is against the clock. But for juniors Frank and Ed Delavergne, running has always been a family affair.
After spending two years apart from each other at different colleges, the twin brothers both transferred to GW last fall and found themselves competing with and against each other.
Ed, who transferred from George Mason, wasn’t running competitively when he was a Patriot. But now as a Colonial, he holds two indoor track and field program records for the 300m and 400m dash and was a member of the record-holding distance medley squad that finished in seventh place out of 26 teams at the Penn Relays Friday.
Frank, who spent two years at Northern Virginia Community College, earned his associate’s degree before coming to Foggy Bottom.
For the brothers, running competitively at the collegiate level was always the goal.
“When we were both at different schools, it was a lot of texting each other, making sure you got the workout done, making sure you got a lift done if you need to get a lift done, making sure we got applications in,” Ed said.
When they first arrived at GW, the twins experienced a culture shock, from practicing on a shorter track to running down D.C.’s busy city streets. For Ed, being able to run with a team again was a welcome change after his time at George Mason, he said.
“I was by myself at George Mason, and it’s interesting going between having to do runs by myself every day to then being back on a team where you have people to run with,” Ed said. “I’m really self-motivated anyways, but it’s funny to see how much easier it is with teammates and being now at the same school as my brother.”
Head coach Terry Weir said the twins have taken the changes in stride, and he has seen growth from the brothers, both as runners and students.
“I told them both this is the year to just get your feet on the ground and just kind of get a feel for what GW can be academically and what it’s going to be like balancing athletics with it, too,” Weir said. “When they first got here in the fall to now, it’s been tremendous and both of them run very, very well.”
Weir said the brothers, who are the fourth or fifth set of twins he’s coached, have a competitive nature and drive that pushes the other runners on the team.
“They’re really hard workers, and what I love about them both is they’re super competitive,” Weir said. “It’s infectious with that group and they train and they get after it in practice and it raises the level for the rest of the group when they’re working out.”
The Delavergne twins, from Warrenton, Va., started competitively running their freshman year of high school after spending all of their childhood playing strictly baseball.
“We decided to do indoor track freshman year, and then we actually did do baseball freshman year, and we just loved the indoor season so much,” Frank said. “We were good at it, and just kept going with it.”
Since then it has been “go, go, go” training and practicing, with the goal of competing at the collegiate level.
Having a built-in workout partner doesn’t hurt, either. From something as small as making sure they’re drinking enough water during the day to training together in the offseason, Ed said the brothers always have each other’s back.
“You always have someone there to hold you accountable for every single day, and throughout the season,” he said.
Although running on the same team has its perks, one of the biggest challenges for the twins comes mostly from people constantly pitting the brothers against each other.
“If people see me at a track meet and notice we’re twins, they ask, ‘Which one’s faster?’” Ed said. “You almost feel put up against each other instead of as teammates, in some instances…I don’t love being a twin.”
Still, the brothers acknowledge how lucky they are to have someone they can rely on to push them to do better.
“With sprinting, you can’t really work out on your own, you got to feed off each other,” Frank said. “It just comes together perfectly.”
Since arriving, the duo has found the athletic culture at GW to be tight-knit and welcoming, Ed said.
“I like how close the athletic teams are here, because we all share the same facilities, we’re all in the weight room at the same time,” he said. “We see everybody and I think it’s an interesting dynamic that all the teams seem to be pretty close.”
Weir said that the brothers are integral to building up the track team, which is now in its third full season.
“There’s a great opportunity with them to come to GW and run and for us to build our track program and have them with us,” Weir said. “It’s been great so far coaching them.”