6 sets of siblings run on Greenville cross country


By Chip Burch • Last Updated 5:30 pm on Monday, October 03, 2011

The Greenville High School cross country team consists of six sets of siblings. The picture includes, front row from left, Kenny Wood, Kyle Reamer, Hannah Sorensen, Jenni Spaans, Clarice Callahan and Quentin Callahan; back row from left, Jessica Wood, Serena Reamer, Kayleen Sorensen, Katelynne Spaans, Danny Hansen and Julia Hansen.

GREENVILLE – A rare occurrence is happening at Greenville High School this year.
There are six different sets of siblings that are all running on the Yellow Jacket cross country team.

That’s unusual, noted boys coach Steve Rains.

“That’s what happens when you have good runners within families, and they all seem to enjoy it,” he said.

Even girls coach Sharon Gianacakos has never seen so many sibling combinations, even in track and field, where she used to be Greenville’s head coach.

“I think it’s very unusual,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had, even in coaching track for 19 years, that many pairs of siblings,” she said. “I just think it’s great. I don’t think any other team has had that many pairs.”

Gianacakos theorized that may be the case in a bigger school and team than Greenville, but not too likely.

“I could image what some of the bigger schools like Rockford or some of the Grand Rapids schools have,” she said.

Rains thinks part of it could be family-related.

“We hear it all the time where ‘So-and-so, you had a brother four years ago who was a great track athlete or a great cross-country runner,’” he said. “Certainly there is a desire to run within the family. It appears to be something that is passed down by the family and supported by the family.”

That’s the case with Danny and Julia Hansen. Danny’s a senior and Julia’s a sophomore.

“It’s always been a family tradition because we had two brothers and two sisters before us that have done it, so it’s always been in the family,” Danny Hansen said.

Julia said that’s why she got into cross country herself.

“I just did it because the family was doing it,” she said.

The Hansens say they don’t run in the offseason together because “we’re at different speeds,” Danny said.

That’s not the case for senior Katelynn Spaans and her junior sister Jenni. They do train together, Katelynn said.

“I tried it because I wanted to try something other than basketball,” the second-year runner said.

Jenni said she tried cross country “because she (Katelynn) told me about how great it was.”

Jessica Wood, a senior, said her sophomore brother Kenny talked her into the sport.

“He (Kenny) has always ran and I never have ran,” Jessica said.

Sometimes the brother and sister will go running together, Kenny said.

“We’ll ask each other if we feel like running,” he said. “If we feel like it, we’ll go, and if one person wants to but the other doesn’t, we’ll go by ourselves.”

The other sets of siblings are senior Serena Reamer and her junior brother Kyle, junior Quentin Callahan and his freshman sister Clarice and senior Kayleen Sorensen and her freshman sister Hannah.

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