Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Atlanta

In the Catholic schools, family is the name of the game

By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published April 20, 2017

Caroline and Lexi Orman of St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, inspired “The Siblings of Spring Sports,” a series that debuts in this issue of The Georgia Bulletin. The Orman twins were on the National Signing Day list in the Feb. 23 issue. They committed to play soccer at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama.

Their teamwork raised the question of what it was like for siblings to play the same sport on the same team. Further digging revealed other twins and one set of triplets among 16 pairs of siblings playing five different sports (baseball, golf, lacrosse, soccer and track) at four Catholic high schools. Meet six pairs who play together.

Shane and Spencer Woolson (twins)

Age: 18
Sport: Soccer
School: Holy Spirit Preparatory School, Atlanta

Noah and Jonah Gunderson (twins)

Age: 17
Sport: Soccer
School: Holy Spirit Preparatory School, Atlanta

ATLANTA—Two sets of twins played soccer at Holy Spirit Prep this year: Shane and Spencer Woolson and Noah and Jonah Gunderson.

(Front row) Shane, left, and Spencer Woolson and
(back row) Noah, left, and Jonah Gunderson will matriculate to various colleges after playing their senior year of soccer together. Photo By Michael Alexander

Shane, the older twin by 17 minutes, has played for three years as right wing and center forward, while Spencer has played for four as a right midfielder. They started soccer in sixth grade and also run cross-country at Holy Spirit Prep.

Shane, whose favorite athletes are quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Real Madrid soccer forward Gareth Bale, plans to attend Syracuse University in New York State. Spencer is considering either Xavier or Loyola of Maryland. He prefers Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Spencer said playing with his brother is great because “it gives you someone to compete against who pushes you harder.” A highlight was winning his first region championship freshman year.

“The best thing about playing with him is that we are generally always on the same page,” Shane said. “It is very easy to connect with him. When my twin has the ball, it is always a little easier for me to read what move he is going to make next and anticipate where I need to be.”

Shane remembers when “during one of our tournaments junior year Spencer and I each had crucial goals to help advance us into the semifinals.”

The Gundersons have been playing together recently at Holy Spirit Prep as Noah has been on varsity soccer for one year, while Jonah has been on for three years. Both started soccer in kindergarten.

Noah, the older twin by two minutes, sees the pros and cons of being on the same team with his brother.

“The best thing about playing with Jonah is that we have great chemistry on the field, but the bad thing is he’s better, so he starts at center back and not me,” said Noah, who also plays right back or left back.

Heading for Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, he said, “I will miss having him pushing me to my fullest ability and having him there for support.”

Jonah will attend Georgia College, Milledgeville, and plans to then transfer to the University of Georgia. He said he “will miss the bonding time most with my brother. Going through a season really helps you connect through all the extra time spent together.”

The best thing about playing with my brother is that we do not need to fight over the car because we have the same sports schedule,” Jonah said. “The hardest thing about playing with my brother are the times I want to yell at him, because he’s my brother, but I have to treat him like the rest of the team so I can’t do that.”

Identical twins Caroline, left, and Lexi Orman provide a double dose of skills to the St. Pius soccer lineup. Photo By Michael Alexander

Caroline and Lexi Orman (twins)

Age: 18
Sport: Soccer
School: St. Pius X High School, Atlanta

ATLANTA—Identical twins Caroline and Lexi Orman have played together on the St. Pius X High School soccer team for all four high school years. Lexi, the older by 30 minutes, plays outside back (defender), and Caroline plays forward and midfielder.

They started playing soccer at the age of 4. They also played point guard on the same basketball teams throughout elementary and middle school.

They say the best thing about playing with each other is the way they’re able to connect with each other on the field.

“We usually know where the other one is,” said Caroline.

“It is always so fun to play with her because I know what she will do with the ball,” said Lexi.

Their freshman season stands out as a memorable one for two reasons. The St. Pius X team won the state championship, and they got to play alongside older sister Kaitlyn.

“It was so much fun that year and we all worked really well together,” said Caroline.

“That year will always be cherished because that is the year when me, my twin, and my older sister got a chance to all play together on the same field,” said Lexi.

The twins will rejoin their older sister on the soccer field later this year. Kaitlyn, a senior at Samford, will be playing her final collegiate season.

“It will be very exciting to get to play with both of my sisters,” said Lexi. “I can’t wait!”

Sophomore Charlotte Graddock, left, and her younger sister, Gwyneth, stick it to opponents on St. Pius’ varsity lacrosse team. Photo By Michael Alexander

Charlotte and Gwyneth Graddock (sisters)

Ages: Charlotte, 17, Gwyneth, 15
Sport: Lacrosse
School: St. Pius X High School, Atlanta

ATLANTA–St. Pius X High School sophomore Charlotte Graddock not only plays on the same lacrosse team with younger sister, Gwyneth, a freshman, but they also play the same position—attack. However, sometimes Charlotte switches to midfielder.

This is their first year playing varsity lacrosse together, but they played together for two years in middle school. Charlotte started playing in third grade and Gwyneth picked it up in the fourth. Playing sports together has been a sisterly routine over the years. Before high school they also ran cross-country and played on the same basketball and soccer teams.

Charlotte was attracted to lacrosse first. After she quit playing soccer, it was a male cousin who convinced her to give lacrosse a try.

“I’ve been doing just that ever since,” said Charlotte.

Charlotte says the best thing about playing with her younger sister is the opportunity to share the athletic experiences, whether it’s winning or losing.

“I can always know that my sister has my back, and I can always rely on her on and off the field,” said Gwyneth.

They agree the hardest thing about playing on the same team is bringing what happened on the field home.

The March 28 lacrosse match against Decatur High School is their fondest memory to date as varsity teammates. They started the game together and both had really good games in the team’s 20-9 victory.

“Although I may be the overall better lacrosse player, Gwyneth brings speed and the ability to move and dodge quickly and get by defenders,” said Charlotte.

One place where they excel at the same level is their parish, the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. The sisters volunteer with the MUST summer lunch program, an outreach ministry that provides lunches to over 250,000 Atlanta-area children.

Soccer siblings Regina Metz, front, and her older sister, Mary Margaret, get to play one final season together before the latter goes off to college. Photo By Michael Alexander

Mary Margaret and Regina Metz (sisters)

Ages: Mary Margaret, 18, Regina, 16
Sport: Soccer
School: Pinecrest Academy, Cumming

CUMMING—Pinecrest Academy senior Mary Margaret Metz and her sister, Regina, a junior, have played soccer together since their respective kindergarten and pre-kindergarten days at Pinecrest 13 years ago.

Mary Margaret was attracted to the sport, in part, because her five older brothers played, so they all learned the game together. Regina, on the other hand, loved soccer because it was an outdoor sport.

The Metz sisters have also played basketball together since elementary school. Basketball is actually Mary Margaret’s main sport. She’ll be playing it this coming fall at Georgia College, Milledgeville, where she plans to study nursing.

Currently Mary Margaret plays forward on Pinecrest’s varsity soccer team and Regina plays midfielder. Mary Margaret said the hardest part about playing with her sister is bringing an element of the team and sport home with you, but it can also be one of the best parts.

“I love how we can really push each other to improve and train outside of actual practice times,” said Mary Margaret.

“The best thing about playing with Mary Margaret is getting to spend time with her,” said Regina. “I get to hang out with her a lot.”

It’s been particularly special this year since this is her sister’s final year at Pinecrest.

“If we didn’t play the same sports, I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with her as I do,” she said.

Regina is always impressed at how hard her older sister works and how she gives a complete and total effort to the team.

“Mary Margaret gets that being a teammate demands commitment even when you don’t feel like it,” said Regina.

Mary Margaret has also benefited from Regina’s presence.

“She is one of the most positive teammates I have ever had,” said Mary Margaret. “She leads so strongly by example and is extremely loyal and hardworking.”

They both agree they’ll miss working out and playing both sports together. The sisters and their family attend Mary Our Queen Church, Peachtree Corners.

Blessed Trinity senior Colin Davis, left, and his sophomore brother, Ryan, share outfield duties on the baseball team. Photo By Michael Alexander

Colin and Ryan Davis (brothers)

Ages: Colin, 18, Ryan, 16
Sport: Baseball
School: Blessed Trinity High School, Roswell

ROSWELL–Colin and Ryan Davis cover two-thirds of the outfield for the Blessed Trinity High School baseball team. Colin plays in center field and Ryan is the right fielder.

Colin is 22 months older than Ryan, but they’ve played baseball together since they were youngsters at home or in the neighborhood. Ryan, a sophomore, is playing his second season at Blessed Trinity. Colin, a senior who competed all four years, will be playing for Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, after he graduates.

Colin, whose favorite player is Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, said the best thing about playing with Ryan is they get to roam the outfield together and hit back-to-back in the lineup.

“We both have the same passion for the game and both play 110 percent all the time,” said Ryan. “It’s a constant competition on the field and we both push each other to do better.”

The 2016 season was the one chance Colin and Ryan had to play with their older brother Conor, a freshman ball player at Auburn University. Last year there was a game when all three were on base at the same time.

“It was pretty awesome to look over at third and first and see two of my older brothers,” said Ryan, who admires the play of Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals right fielder.

Both Davis brothers say they’ll miss working out, practicing and playing games together as Colin moves on.

“They’re as close as it gets,” said BT head baseball coach Andy Harlin. “They pull for each other and they pick each other up.”