All in the family: Six Mitchell Christian siblings share the track

May 4—MITCHELL — One of Mitchell Christian track and field's goals is making sure all the kids feel supported.

For some of the Golden Eagles, their support comes from home all the time.

This year's team — which has 20 members in total — features six siblings competing alongside each other. While everyone strives to do their best and put together strong days, the immediate sibling connection provides an opportunity to understand where one is coming from.

"This person has known you since you were alive," head coach Ryan Chase said. "They know you really well, and if there's frustrations on the team, they have a sibling to kind of help sound those things out or help them through those challenges."

In most cases, they've been competing in the same events and sometimes the same races. Brothers Silas and Sawyer Holdeman have run in long-distance races together and on the same relay teams this season. Sisters Lindy and Trudie Hofer have competed in both 100-meter and 200-meter races.

Hannah DeLine has also competed in long-distance races for the Golden Eagles this season, while her sister Elinor has raced at the junior varsity level. The support they share, along with the other siblings, is evident while on the track.

"I know (Hannah's) voice so I can hear her cheering me on from the sidelines," Elinor DeLine said. "I know she'll always be there and that God's given her to me so that I have someone to look up to."

Witnessing the fun and success his older brother Silas was having in track and field made Sawyer Holdeman want to join the team. Ever since, Sawyer's felt each year has been easier, crediting his brother for being alongside him.

"It's just a blessing that I have my brother with me," Sawyer Holdeman said. "I'm just glad to have my brother because honestly, I probably would not be on this team without him."

While both Holdeman brothers run at different paces during races, practices and workouts see them "stick" to each other according to Silas, even if it's just for fun. For Sawyer, a lot of what he does and how he practices and strives to improve is influenced by his brother's actions, looking up to him and trying his best to fight through the same challenges Silas faces while competing.

"Silas never gives up on a race," he said. "I feel tired sometimes and I'm like, 'I can't do that.' But then I see Silas finishing and I'm then like, 'If my best friend can do it, then I can do it.'"

"In any team, if you have somebody who can show you the right way to do things and see that it's proving to lead to success and results, it's always beneficial," Chase said. "Whether it works out or not, at least I'll be thankful for the lessons and experiences I learned along the way."

Both brothers get each other ready for each race during warmups with high fives and first bumps. After each practice and race, they always congratulate each other the same way. Seeing the strides Sawyer has made this season has brought a smile to Silas' face.

"I'm really proud of him," said Silas Holdeman about his brother, "because he comes to practice every day just working his hardest and going all the way. Even though I don't see him much while I'm running, I know he's up there on the leaderboard."

Having participated in summer track and field camps in the past, Elinor DeLine knew she wanted to be on Mitchell Christian's track and field team. Her older sister Hannah joined to help prepare for the cross-country season.

With this being their first experience really competing together in sports, it also created an environment where they push each other forward in order to achieve their own respective goals. Going up against Elinor in practice has allowed Hannah to focus on improving her own race speed.

"Hannah and Elinor want to be successful," Chase added. "They have goals and they are extremely willing to push through pain and discomfort to accomplish those goals. They're just tough kids motivated to be the best they can be."

While Hannah also says having the competition has strived both her and her sister to perform better than one another, they also know how to act in certain situations.

Calming each other's nerves prior to the race, Elinor will sometimes look to Hannah for support after a grueling race that leaves her physically and mentally drained. Those moments throughout the season being on the same team and having each other to help push and support have tightened their strong bond.

"It creates a deeper level of closeness because you're with them all the time," Hannah DeLine said. "You can also turn to each other for support with those struggles and it feels like a stronger camaraderie."

"When you're on a team," Elinor DeLine explained, "you're closer together, you bond more, and then you begin to better trust each other."

As with every team, Chase feels there needs to be people who bring joy to the team to help create a fun environment for all. That's the environment both Lindy and Trudie Hofer have excelled in creating.

They both tried out track and field after their friends did before. Lindy and Trudie also engage in a little friendly competition during the races they compete alongside each other. However, the experience of being together at the track has been fulfilling.

"It's just really nice to have friends and siblings to do things with," Trudie Hofer said. "We warm up together. We get to do a lot of stretching and it's been fun to do other stuff together."

While track and field can create stress, it's also an opportunity to celebrate continued improvement or accomplishment. It's how Lindy Hofer, competing in her senior season for the Golden Eagles, has approached each day of the year.

"The main highlight has been celebrating the little wins," she said. "I've really enjoyed racing against Trudie even in practice and just seeing the little improvements, whether in practice or at an actual meet. It's fun to encourage her along the way as she encourages me."

They have also enjoyed their time spent together on the team, which has been filled with laughs and talking about their performances, something Trudie will miss upon Lindy's graduation. However, they'll continue to enjoy being in the moment as the season winds down.

"Just enjoy every day, every practice, and every meet," Lindy Hofer said. "You do a sport to improve, but also, you have to enjoy it and help others enjoy it by staying positive."

"Do your best and have fun while you can," Trudie Hofer said. "Leave it all on the track."