The twin bond is something special, and Ryan and Mark Sterling have certainly proven that to be true.
The Mansfield High School seniors are two of the stronger runners on the Tigers boys cross country team this season, but also two of the better students in their graduating class.
Coach Danny Calderon said that the Sterling brothers are exactly the kind of athletes he wants on his team.
“Ryan and Mark bring a strong work ethic to the team,” Calderon said. “They are always early to practice and never absent. Ryan is more of a vocal leader and Mark is more of a leader by example. They go out of their way to help out teammates, often picking up a few kids and bringing them to practice.”
Mark is ranked seventh out of 550 in his graduating class at Mansfield, and he said that the season has been playing out nicely for him and his team.
“I’ve beaten my fastest time from last year by over 40 seconds, and I really think I can lower it even more,” Mark said. “Overall, our entire team has been running much faster than last year.”
The National Merit Scholar semifinalist and two-time regional qualifier said that he and his brother are competitive, but added that he thinks it is to the benefit of the team.
“I think the sibling rivalry is more prevalent in some areas than in others,” Mark said. “In cross country and running in general, Ryan has always been faster than I have been, so we aren’t constantly trying to beat each other. However, it has been helpful having him on the team because I can look for him while we are running and try to catch him. I was much slower than him during my first few years of running, but I’ve cut the difference in our times down drastically and now usually finish within 30 seconds of him.”
Mark has applied to Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Oklahoma and Baylor University and plans to study international business.
Ryan is ranked 12th in his graduating class of 550 students and said that he, too, is very pleased with how this cross country season has unfolded.
“This season is by far the best one of my high school career,” Ryan said. “Our team feels a lot closer and more inclusive than in years past. As for running, everybody is working hard this year to make sure we make a good first impression in our new district.”
Ryan, a six-time district champion between cross country and track and three-time regional qualifier, is also a member of the Student Council at Mansfield, and he said the sibling rivalry that exists between him and Mark has also spawned a great camaraderie.
“In races, Mark and I push each other a lot,” Ryan said. “Many times Mark will pass more, or I will pass Mark, and it will motivate us to stick with each other. In most races, we finish close together because we refuse to let the other escape our reach. In the classroom, we can’t talk during big things like tests to encourage each other, but before and after we will talk about what we think.”
Ryan is headed to Texas A&M University in the fall, where he plans to study mechanical engineering.
Calderon said it has been a great joy to coach the Sterling brothers and said that they will be missed when they move on to college.
“I am truly blessed and honored to coach these young men,” Calderon said. “They inspire me and I have learned a lot from them.”