Many times our strongest friendships can come from playing sports. Taking a sibling relationship and adding in the competition and commitment of sports help make it even stronger.
At Oyster River High School (ORHS), numerous students play sports with their sibling(s). Many have noticed that playing a sport together can help strengthen bonds and even friendships between them. With any sibling relationship, there can sometimes be fighting or competition, but that can also become motivation to do better or be better. Through the ups and downs of high school sports, having a sibling by your side can be a great experience.
On the varsity softball team at ORHS, twins Addy Veno (‘24) and Maddy Veno (‘24) play with their older sister Morgan Veno (‘22). The opportunity to play on the team with their older sister is some- thing that they have really enjoyed over the past two years. They felt that it is a “once in a lifetime experience” which they are very lucky to have. They especially felt it after victories such as winning the NHIAA division II championships during the 2021 season.
This year, the girls varsity lacrosse team at ORHS also has three sets of sisters, all pairs of seniors and freshmen. This is very uncom- mon. Girls lacrosse coach, Kirstin Lang, noticed this and shared the Venos’ sentiment. She said that the seniors getting to play with their freshmen sisters is “very rare and something that is probably a once in a lifetime [experience].”
Many siblings find it motivating to do better when they have their brother or sister with them. Ben Kelley (‘23) played basketball with his brother Aidan Kelley (‘21) for two years. Ben played JV his freshman and sophomore years, but was swung up to varsity each year and got to play alongside his brother. “[Aidan] was a really hard worker and kind of set an expectation. That was a lot of motivation to do better and work harder,” he said.
Micah Bessette (‘24) does track and cross country with his older brother Ethan Bessette (‘22). He said, “Ethan definitely motivates me because he is very determined and dedicated. He will keep trying through the pain [of running] and that definitely inspires me to try harder.”
Motivation to improve doesn’t always just come from watching a sibling though. Tess Pueschel (‘22) and Elsa Pueschel (‘25) are both on the varsity swim and lacrosse teams. Elsa shared how Tess yelling at her (with love) to get back in the water or finish a set really helps her improve. Tess agreed and said “definitely during practice we push each other. Usually it’s kind of snarky but it gets the job done.”
Getting upset with each other or being “snarky” is a unique aspect to a sibling relationship. It’s normal and “it’s how siblings act,” said Garrett Quaglieri (‘22). He and his twin, Kenton Quaglieri (‘22), have been playing soccer, hockey, and baseball together all four years of high school.
Lang said that from a coach’s perspective, having siblings on a team “brings out good competition [and] a fun aspect and atmo- sphere.”
Micah also mentioned competition between him and his brother, especially in cross country. Since running is based on time, it is easy for them to compare. He said, “we inspire each other to do better and go faster. It seems like there’s always [something] to strive for.”
The sibling relationships are not only fun to watch, as Lang noted, but can also be very beneficial to team dynamic. Morgan said, “I feel like getting their input from the younger side of things is really important. I think it definitely helps me be a better leader.”
For many players such as the Kelleys, the Pueschels, and the Ve- nos, they all have different and almost opposite roles on the team. Many, like Tess, felt that having that space was good. She said, “I feel like I would probably yell at her a lot more if we did have to play on the same side of the field. In that sense we’re still working together, but we’re not clashing.”
Ben shared how playing opposite roles benefited the team. Ben plays post and Aidan was point guard on the basketball team, so Ben being able to know when he would pass and where, “kind of helped me and him to get assists and put ourselves in a smart position.”
For the Quaglieri twins, things are a little different. They play on the same line in hockey, both play outfield in baseball, and in soc- cer Kenton is goalie, while Garrett plays defense: all very similar, if not the same, roles. Kenton shared that playing the same position in hockey can lead to some competition, but they haven’t really experi- enced it in soccer or baseball. They have fought on the ice before in hockey, but they also defend each other. “In hockey one time [Gar- rett] got hit, so I went up behind the person and [just] threw them,” said Kenton.
Whether it’s making friends easier, being motivated to improve, or just knowing that someone is always there for you, playing a sport with your sibling can be a great experience. Tess reflected on this being her last year of sports at ORHS and said, “I’m happy to share it with [my sister].”