A rivalry renewed: Former Section IV stars now running for D-1 schools
In high school Waverly's Erika Kisel saw plenty of Oxford's Woodford twins, Katie and Emily.
Whether it was in a sprint, a longer distance race or a relay, Kisel always seemed to find herself squaring off with one of the sisters for the top spot in Section 4.
Seeing top level competition like that in the lane next to you can up the nerves a bit at the high school level.
But now things have changed.
All three are now running at the college level. Kisel is a sophomore at Binghamton, while Katie and Emily are freshmen at Cornell.
On Saturday the Woodford sisters made their collegiate debut for the Big Red and once again they found themselves on the same track with Kisel.
Only now, things are different. Now it brings a bit of calm to see their former high school rival.
"We are friends," Emily said. "It's nice to see people you know, people you ran against in the past. It makes you fee more comfortable."
Even after a year of college experience under her belt, Kisel still enjoys seeing people she ran against in high school.
"It's exciting to see people you know and see they are doing well," she said.
After a strong finish to the outdoor season last year, Kisel has a lot more confidence as a sophomore.
"I definitely go in with more confidence now," Kisel said. "I have a better idea of what to expect. I hope to place and do well this year."
For Katie and Emily things are a little different, they are just starting to adjust to what things are like at the college level.
"The workouts are a lot harder," Katie said.
And, the competition is a lot harder as well, but both sisters know that only makes you better.
"It's nice," Emily said. "In high school you are used to being the star. Now, there are a lot of people better than you. It's nice to have more competiton."
After last year, Kisel understands the level of competition now.
"It's great to have a year under my belt," she said. "I just try and enjoy it, and do the best I can now."
After their high school careers, where it was rare for anyone to beat either of the sisters, both Katie and Emily are getting used to what things are like in college.
"It's different, you aren't the best anymore," Katie said. "You definitely go into races knowing there is good competition, knowing you have to do your best."
The one challenging part is remembering that you are just a freshman running against more experience people now.
"You can't let it get in your head," Emily said. "You just have to keep working hard."
In their first meet of the season the twins both fared well with Katie placing in the top five in the 60 meters and Emily finishing in the top 10 in the 500 meters.
While it was a good start to their careers, both sisters hope to just keep improving.
"I hope to improve as much as I can," Katie said. "It's hard being a freshman, but I just want to improve a lot and try and keep getting better."
The final race of the meet on Saturday had Kisel and Katie each running for their school in the 1600 meter relay.
It's a matchup that happened a ton at the high school level, but now things are different. In high school the twins were always in the relay together. And one was always the anchor, just like Kisel was for Waverly.
Now, which leg you run can change, and in many meets the school has multiple teams entered in the relay and you might not be on the 'A' team.
"It's kind of weird," Katie said. "You have to get used to it. You run different legs and you don't always run with the same people."
"It's more like a scramble, you never know where they are going to put you in," Kisel said. "You have to be ready for anything."