There was only five minutes left on the clock. Eva and Sanne Van der Goes, senior varsity field hockey captains, are neck and neck with their opponents during a game at sectionals. The chance to play at State is on the line. Similarly, Nathan and Noah Shapiro, varsity track captains, are two points down in the last race of the meet. At the last second, with Sanne passing the ball to Eva, who scores the winning point, and with South winning the last race of the meet, both sets of twins continue their journeys to State.
Eva and Sanne have played field hockey since 2008, and are both continuing their field hockey careers in college. Eva has committed to Division I at Villanova University, while Sanne is committed to Division III Babson College. Likewise, Nathan and Noah both advance to collegiate track and field at Division III schools. Nathan committed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Noah committed to Washington University in St. Louis.
For both sets of twins, sports has always been a significant part of their lives due to their family histories. Nancy Shapiro, Noah and Nathan’s mom, competed in track when she was younger. Furthermore, Eva and Sanne said their family has a deep connection in field hockey because their father, Hugo Van der Goes, played professionally, and their grandfather started a club for the sport in the Netherlands. Like their parents, the twins all worked hard to excel in field hockey and track and earned their reputations as accomplished student athletes.
“Very naturally, the girls started playing when they were 5 to 6 years old,” Hugo said. “They stuck with it, [and] did other sports as well like tennis and soccer.”
Nathan and Noah have run track since eighth grade with a goal to reach the most competitive level of competition they could achieve. The Shapiro twins’ achievements reflect their determination to pursue their dream and reach the highest level of the sport. Nathan explained that the better the competition, the better they run.
“You’re definitely going to run better when there’s more competition,” Nathan said. “When there [are] people in front of you to chase, I mean you look forward to those kinds of meets because you run faster.”
The Shapiro twins’ comradery has been premier as well. While both have achieved state qualifying numbers, the twins have developed an acute bond rooted in track.
“The biggest advantage is that when we are doing relays because we have had the same [relay] handoff for five years,” Noah said. “At this point, we’ve gotten so good we don’t even have to communicate with each other anymore.”
This advantage makes their running even better and their kinship even stronger.
Eva and Sanne also credit much of their success to the support they receive and provide to each other. When one sister makes a mistake, the other sister notes error for future reference.
“We tell each other what mistakes we make on the field,” Eva said. “Also being [communicative] is how you fix [your mistakes as], we’re always looking to improve, especially if we’re going to be playing in college,” Eva said.
Similarly, Nathan and Noah help each other perform by striving to do well together with competitiveness spurring them on to support each other.
“[Noah and Nathan] are both really competitive,” Nancy said. “Internally competitive, they always want to do the best they can. They are incredibly self-motivated.”
Additionally, Eva and Sanne are self-driven.
“Self-motivation is probably the big word here, because we never had to push them,” Hugo said.
*Jasmarie Alcaraz, Seira Honda, Austin Hurst, Sarah Park, Kate Shambo, Nicole Szubzda