Twin brothers push each other to success across multiple sports
Dec 14, 2018 02:57PM
● By Ron Bevan
Jordan High school's Jeddy Bennett has competed, along with his twin brother Sam, on the cross country team for the previous four seasons. He is also a student body officer and an Academic All-State athlete. (Photo provided by Jeddy Bennett)
By Ron Bevan | [email protected]
It began as a way to condition for the sport they loved. It turned into a four-year love affair with a new sport for the Bennett brothers of Jordan High School.
Jeddy and Sam Bennett, seniors and identical twins, have led the Beetdigger cross-country program for the last two seasons as the top two runners in the program. But the duo has been on the varsity team since they decided to join as freshmen.
“We thought it would be a great way to get into condition for soccer,” Jeddy said. “We had heard a lot about the summer running program at Jordan and knew if we did that for the fall we could be ready for soccer in the spring. It turns out that not only did we really like cross country but we were also pretty good at it.”
The Bennetts, sons of Jim and Laurel Bennett of Sandy, had grown up as defensive soccer players, playing the sport since third grade. Always teammates, Jeddy and Sam entered the competition leagues and played for years for the Blue Knights (a local soccer club).
“I played right side outside back and Jeddy played the same position on the left side,” Sam said. “Sometimes during games people would ask us if we were brothers because we look so much alike.”
It was before their freshmen year the idea of cross country first popped into their heads. Soccer is a physically demanding sport, where players are constantly running. It seemed like a great way to get in shape for the spring soccer season as cross country is run during the fall.
It didn’t take the brothers long to realize they found a new home in a new sport. They competed at the varsity level the first year on the team.
“The ability to push yourself to new limits is what I like about cross-country running,” Sam said. “It is hard to describe it to people because most people don’t like running very far. But it is fun for us.”
“Basically you can work on improving your own time so the one person you can always compete against is yourself,” added Jeddy. “Although there is a team element in it, when you go out you are only relying on yourself. It isn’t like that in most other sports.”
Both brothers made it to the state championship race their freshman year and turned in decent times of 18:06.5 (Jeddy) and 18:31.9 (Sam). The next season they both shaved off a few seconds from those times.
Then, as juniors, the Bennetts established themselves as the top two runners at Jordan in each meet. They shaved over one minute off their sophomore times. As seniors, the times dropped again. During the 2018 state race Jeddy turned in a 16:28 time over the three-mile course and Sam came in at 16:45.
“What sets them apart from other runners is their determination,” said Andrew Yawn, Jordan cross-country coach. “They come to practice ready to go. There is never a day off for them.”
The same determination that sets them apart in cross country has also helped the brothers succeed in several other aspects of their high school lives. Not only did they compete in cross country and soccer, but they added track as a second spring sport.
“We were already pretty good at running distances, so we would run the 400-meter, 800-meter and 1,600-meter races,” Jeddy said. “We wanted to do the longer 3,200-meter as well, but with soccer practices at the same time as track it was hard to fit all that in.”
Fitting things in, however, doesn’t seem to be that big of a problem for the twins. If being three-sport athletes weren’t enough, both are student body officers at Jordan. And both are carrying perfect 4.0 GPAs despite all the demands their sports and positions require of their time.
“It really is just a time management thing at home for us,” Jeddy said. “We have to make sure we don’t waste a bunch of time. We have dinner and get right on the homework. On weekdays we don’t really do much other than running and homework.”
“It can get pretty tiring,” added Sam. “But right now we are also doing a fundraiser. This keeps us at the school until 5 (p.m.) each day, so you have to find times to constantly stay on top of it.”
As if excelling at sports and academics wasn’t enough, both brothers are also gifted pianists, and lend their skills with concerts at such places as Festival of Trees and other local events.
Then there is the community service. The brothers are part of PLT (Peer Leadership Team), a program at Jordan High School.
“We use our eighth-period class time to go around to different Sandy elementary schools just to be drug and alcohol free and build bully-free environments,” Jeddy said. “We want to start young with them to build that ideology so they can have better environments when they grow up.”
The brothers are looking at possible futures in aeronautical engineering or even animation. They have decided to attend the same university and have narrowed their choices to either Brigham Young University or Stanford.
“Both have very good programs in what we want to study, and both have very good cross-country programs,” Sam said. “Wherever we choose, we want to try and walk on to the team.”