• 70°

South Point’s Mathes twins to run distance for Wright State

South Point senior distance runners and twin brothers Tanner (left) and Tyler Mathes have signed to run cross country and track at Wright State University. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

South Point senior distance runners and twin brothers Tanner (left) and Tyler Mathes have signed to run cross country and track at Wright State University. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

SOUTH POINT — Picking a college can be a nightmare for a high school senior. Imagine how difficult it would be if you had a twin brother or sister trying to make such a tough decision.

But for South Point seniors Tanner and Tyler Mathes it wasn’t that traumatic of an experience.

The Pointers standout distance runners in cross country and track had little trouble zeroing in on the same school as they signed with the Wright State Raiders to continue their education and athletic careers.

You see, Tanner and Tyler are identical twins and not just their personal appearance. They not only have the same interests, they think and reason virtually the same.

Those personality traits enable the brothers to agree on their future.

“We always knew we were going to the same college. There was never a point when he sort of wanted this college over another one and I wanted to go to this college. Luckily, our opinions are pretty much the same. If there was something about one college that we didn’t like, he pretty much agreed with me,” said Tyler.

“So when we found Wright State, we knew it was the right fit and we both mutually agreed on it, so there was never really an argument. It was more important that we go to college together than me finding the best fit. If there was something he didn’t like, I wasn’t going to that college. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.”

Not only will the brothers be roommates, they are going to major in biomedical engineering and they have the same class schedule for the fall semester.

“For the time being, it looks like we’ll be together,” said Tanner. “We’ve talked about the future, where we want to live, what our jobs are going to be, and we’ve always wanted to live in the same neighborhood, not more than 10 minutes apart. We’ll probably get our first apartment together. We might have our first house together. It’s just the lifestyle we’re used to. It doesn’t bother me to share things. It doesn’t bother me to always have someone around me. I can’t imagine it any other way. It’s weird to me to be alone.”

Tanner and Tyler have thought along the same lines ever since they could remember.

A prime example came just as they were about to enter the seventh grade. Tanner played soccer and Tyler played football. But Tanner said he decided to try something new and went out for the track team.

“I was just average at first. In fact, the first time I ever ran my mile I got dead last. But for some reason, I don’t know why, I just loved it,” said Tanner.

But after middle school, Tanner looked to add something else to his activity schedule.

“In middle school it was just trace, but when I got to high school I found this sport — I didn’t know what it was — cross country,” said Tanner. “I ran my first race my freshman year and I was hooked.”

Tyler said it was a mutual agreement to try track in middle school.

“We wouldn’t have done it apart,” said Tyler.

“We tried out for track in junior high and they had us try different events. I always thought I was fast, so I thought I would be a sprinter. They had us try different events and I ran an 800 and I came in second place and I thought, ‘Wow, this is something I could do.’”

It was definitely something the brothers could do and they did it better each year during their high school careers.

As seniors, Tyler and Tanner were members of the 4×800 relay team that was first in the Ohio Valley Conference meet. Tanner also won the 800 and was fifth in the 1600. Tyler was second in the 1600 and 3200.

In the Division II district meet, Tyler was fourth in the 3200 meters, Tanner eighth in the 1600, and they were on the 4×800 team that was sixth.

Tyler qualified for the regional meet in the 3200 and placed fourth at 9:58.74 to earn a berth in the state meet where he finished 13th.

Tanner said the two brothers were competitors, but they were never in competition with each other. In fact, they were each other’s biggest fan.

“(Tyler) was always a little better than me in the longer distances. I always got him in the shorter distances. I was a better sprinter. He always had an edge on me in the longer distances,” said Tanner.

“But it was more like if I saw him go out and tackle a race and get a good time and get a school record, I was proud of him because he was my twin and most likely, even if I’m not wasn’t there at this moment, I could probably get there at some point.

“So every success he had I was looking at the future of myself at what I could get. I know he’s my twin and our bodies are about the same, so I figured any time he could get I can get, too. I didn’t make it to the state meet. I didn’t make it to the regional meet this year, but the fact that he made it and got this amazing time, I felt like I got it, too.”

Tyler said that the brothers were able to push each other to train and improve.

“Having a training partner, someone who is the same ability as you, helped a lot,” said Tyler. “If you were doing a hard workout and you knew he was struggling a little bit, too, you could share the pain together.

“We had a couple of guys on our team who were better than us when we first started, so that was our goal to reach them. Other than that, we were our own role models. We knew what each other could do, so we were just trying to reach the level we knew we could. We saw that something was there. We just had to train. It was something new and we knew we were pretty good. We believed in ourselves.”

Tanner said having someone to train with was especially a key during the winter months between the cross country and track seasons.

“It’s hard to go in the winter when all the basketball players are inside in the nice, warm gym — which I know it’s a hard sport — but then you have to go outside in January in the freezing cold and run three miles,” said Tanner.

As usual, Tyler agreed.

“When someone is there with you going through the cold weather, especially your twin brother, it makes it a lot easier to experience that and get through it all,” said Tyler.

The strong bond shared by identical twins is not unusual. For the Mathes brothers, that unique bond helped them in all aspects, not just athletics.

One example came when Tyler was in elementary school and went to a football camp for a few days. He was away from his parents Stacy and Chris Mathes and his brother for the first time.

“It was odd just not having that guy there who understood me completely, because I understand him and he understands me. I was just lonely, I guess,” said Tyler.

“It was really good just knowing that you always had someone who would always be there for you, someone who shared your same interest, someone you could have fun with, a friend who would always be there. It just meant never being alone. If we went into a situation where we felt uncomfortable, we knew we had each other to lean on. You always had a partner in crime.”

The brothers not only gave credit to each other for their success, but they gave a lot of credit to former Pointers’ coach Randy Smith who introduced them to track and cross country and taught them how to train.

“Especially in the area we are from, it’s a lot of football, a lot of baseball, a lot of basketball. I didn’t hear much about track. I didn’t have any track running role models growing up aside from the Olympics,” said Tyler.

“If it hadn’t been for (Tanner) I don’t think I would have done all the training by myself. It meant a lot to have a training partner you could just go run hours with.”

to live, what our jobs are going to be, and we’ve always wanted to live in the same neighborhood, not more than 10 minutes apart. We’ll probably get our first apartment together. We might have our first house together. It’s just the lifestyle we’re used to. It doesn’t bother me to share things. It doesn’t bother me to always have someone around me. I can’t imagine it any other way. It’s weird to me to be alone.”

Tanner and Tyler have thought along the same lines ever since they could remember.

A prime example came just as they were about to enter the seventh grade. Tanner played soccer and Tyler played football. But Tanner said he decided to try something new and went out for the track team.

“I was just average at first. In fact, the first time I ever ran my mile I got dead last. But for some reason, I don’t know why, I just loved it,” said Tanner.

But after middle school, Tanner looked to add something else to his activity schedule.

“In middle school it was just track, but when I got to high school I found this sport — I didn’t know what it was — cross country,” said Tanner. “I ran my first race my freshman year and I was hooked.”

Tyler said it was a mutual agreement to try track in middle school.

“We wouldn’t have done it apart,” said Tyler.

“We tried out for track in junior high and they had us try different events. I always thought I was fast, so I thought I would be a sprinter. They had us try different events and I ran an 800 and I came in second place and I thought, ‘Wow, this is something I could do.’”

It was definitely something the brothers could do and they did it better each year during their high school careers.

As seniors, Tyler and Tanner were members of the 4×800 relay team that was first in the Ohio Valley Conference meet. Tanner also won the 800 and was fifth in the 1600. Tyler was second in the 1600 and 3200.

In the Division II district meet, Tyler was fourth in the 3200 meters, Tanner eighth in the 1600, and they were on the 4×800 team that was sixth.

Tyler qualified for the regional meet in the 3200 and placed fourth at 9:58.74 to earn a berth in the state meet where he finished 13th.

Tanner said the two brothers were competitors, but they were never in competition with each other. In fact, they were each other’s biggest fan.

“(Tyler) was always a little better than me in the longer distances. I always got him in the shorter distances. I was a better sprinter. He always had an edge on me in the longer distances,” said Tanner.

“But it was more like if I saw him go out and tackle a race and get a good time and get a school record, I was proud of him because he was my twin and most likely, even if I wasn’t there at this moment, I could probably get there at some point.

“So every success he had I was looking at the future of myself at what I could get. I know he’s my twin and our bodies are about the same, so I figured any time he could get I can get, too. I didn’t make it to the state meet. I didn’t make it to the regional meet this year, but the fact that he made it and got this amazing time, I felt like I got it, too.”

Tyler said that the brothers were able to push each other to train and improve.

“Having a training partner, someone who is the same ability as you, helped a lot,” said Tyler. “If you were doing a hard workout and you knew he was struggling a little bit, too, you could share the pain together.

“We had a couple of guys on our team who were better than us when we first started, so that was our goal to reach them. Other than that, we were our own role models. We knew what each other could do, so we were just trying to reach the level we knew we could. We saw that something was there. We just had to train. It was something new and we knew we were pretty good. We believed in ourselves.”

Tanner said having someone to train with was especially a key during the winter months between the cross country and track seasons.

“It’s hard to go in the winter when all the basketball players are inside in the nice, warm gym — which I know it’s a hard sport — but then you have to go outside in January in the freezing cold and run three miles,” said Tanner.

As usual, Tyler agreed.

“When someone is there with you going through the cold weather, especially your twin brother, it makes it a lot easier to experience that and get through it all,” said Tyler.

The strong bond shared by identical twins is not unusual. For the Mathes brothers, that unique bond helped them in all aspects, not just athletics.

One example came when Tyler was in elementary school and went to a football camp for a few days. He was away from his parents Stacy and Chris Mathes and his brother for the first time.

“It was odd just not having that guy there who understood me completely, because I understand him and he understands me. I was just lonely, I guess,” said Tyler.

“It was really good just knowing that you always had someone who would always be there for you, someone who shared your same interest, someone you could have fun with, a friend who would always be there. It just meant never being alone. If we went into a situation where we felt uncomfortable, we knew we had each other to lean on. You always had a partner in crime.”

The brothers not only gave credit to each other for their success, but they gave a lot of credit to former Pointers’ coach Randy Smith who introduced them to track and cross country and taught them how to train.

“Especially in the area we are from, it’s a lot of football, a lot of baseball, a lot of basketball. I didn’t hear much about track. I didn’t have any track running role models growing up aside from the Olympics,” said Tyler.

“If it hadn’t been for (Tanner) I don’t think I would have done all the training by myself. It meant a lot to have a training partner you could just go run hours with.”