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Vermeulen twins have twice the impact on cross team
By Abe Huyser-Honig

Tami and Jodi Vermeulen's middle school cross country coach knew they were good—they routinely beat boys. When he told them if they trained hard in the summer the twins could make the varsity team their freshmen year of high school, they did him one better by taking Holland Christian's first two spots in their first race. Early on they established a tradition of excelling together that's continued in their careers at Calvin.

Tami Vermeulen
Tami Vermeulen

Being twins "is nice because we have built-in best friends," said Tami. They also have built-in running partners, which came in handy when the only time they could find to run at the camp they worked at this summer was 5:45 a.m. And for the Vermeulens the constant back and forth of which sister finishes first in races is a source of motivation, not conflict. "If the other person's up there, you know you can be up there too," said Jodi. The only problem, she said, is that sometimes fans yell the wrong name. "You just kind of smirk and realize it's for you."

The Vermeulens took a break from running their freshman year at Calvin, but it was "too fun not to do," said Tami. Recording solid performances over the last two years, the duo, as seniors, has stepped up to a new level: both sisters consistently finished in Calvin's top seven, made the All-MIAA first team, were named to the Great Lakes All-Region Team, and ran for the team at the NCAA national championship meet this fall.

Jodi Vermeulen
Jodi Vermeulen

The twins will be back next year to do their student teaching, but scheduling complications won't allow Jodi to use her last year of eligibility, and Tami isn't sure whether she wants to run without her sister. They will miss their coaches, who they say have helped them get the most out of their abilities, and their teammates. "On every run we'd always end up laughing and talking," said Jodi.

Right now, though, Tami and Jodi are focusing on the spring track season—their last. "We're definitely going to be as dedicated as possible," said Jodi. Both want to make it to nationals: Jodi in the 1500 meters or 5000 meters and Tami in the 3000-meter steeplechase. In addition to perfecting her hurdling form this winter, said Tami, "I am going to find a way to be as tough as possible, because in this event you need to be as tough as nails."