Sisters turned teammates

Bruening sisters use athletic bond as motivation


Taylor Sweat; Connor Bullock

(Left) sprinting to the finish line, junior Claire Bruening competes in the 400-meter dash March 22 at Heights. Bruening typically competes in the 4×100, 4×400, and the 400-meter dash. (Right) competing in the 4×100 relay, freshman Kelsey Bruening, runs with the baton. She placed first at the Pre-State Track Meet April 12 at Cessna Stadium.

Evan Dalian, staff writer

As the spring season is in full swing, two sisters are competing together for the third season in a row. Junior Claire Bruening and freshman Kelsey Bruening continue their sports career this spring, running for the track team and setting an example for other tri-sport athletes.

“Both of [their work ethics] are exactly what you’re looking for in a track and field athlete,” said track coach Bob Lida. “They do all the workouts I ask them to do and they do it with all the intensity I could ask for. I think that is definitely what makes them as good as they are —the fact that they’re willing to get their work done. You know, I’ve watched them both play basketball too, and I see them practice the same way in basketball, so I think it’s just built into their DNA.”

Claire and Kelsey started off their year playing volleyball together (although on different teams) before transitioning into their favorite sport, basketball. During the basketball season, Kelsey proved to be able to handle herself, even as a freshman, and was able to play some varsity minutes with her older sister. They now are running track and are on the same 4×100 relay team and 4×400 team while also running the 400-meter dash together.

“When I see her, it’s just like when you see your best friend, it just lightens your day,” said Claire Bruening. “I know if she’s here, she will always be [available] to talk to me.”

Now that they are both in high school, they said they do everything together. The pair talked about the security they have in knowing that the other one is there. They practice together every day and use each other for motivation to get better and push themselves.

“Claire is my role model and she really motivates me to push myself and try my best at everything,” Kelsey Bruening said. “I look up to her a lot, so running with the person I look up to the most really motivates me.”

Running together, especially in the same events, has led the two to train hard every day.

“I’m really used to Claire beating me,” Kelsey said. “She’s faster than me and more athletic, nut if I beat her she gets pretty mad because she knows that she is supposed to be beating me.”

Claire is a distance runner and has better endurance while Kelsey is a sprinter and has better speed, Lida said. Track coaches are working with Claire to improve her speed while working with Kelsey to improve her endurance. It is evident during practice that the two have a natural competitiveness and work to beat each other, Lida said.

“As much as I try to be a role model, she has definitely shown me a lot of different things,” Claire said. “She has taught me how to keep pushing myself. I am really proud of her for being on varsity sports and working her butt off this entire year.”

Their cooperation and effort in everything they do has not gone unnoticed, especially to Lida, who says their competitive nature comes from their family.

“They’re great people,” Lida said. “I know their family, and they come from a great family. They’re very competitive and they love sports. They are very respectful of their coaches, which we always appreciate. I look forward to coaching them for a number of years.”