Family Matters For The Crusaders

Seven sets of siblings are currently Holy Cross student-athletes.

By Kelsey Horton
Special to

Siblings. Love them or hate, there’s no avoiding them…especially at a small sized school like Holy Cross. Over the years Holy Cross has been getting more and more student-athletes who have a sibling on their team, or another sports team. Currently there are seven sets of sibling athletes on campus. Recently, they talked to to give us a closer look at what it is like having their brother or sister at HC.

Brotherly Love

Freshman linebacker Kenny Acquah (Bronx, N.Y.) and junior defensive lineman Gary Acquah (Bronx, N.Y.) have played on the same team since elementary school, and were able to continue their streak, this fall season. Kenny said that Gary did not influence his decision to come to Holy Cross but he knew he would probably have a quicker adjustment process in college since his brother was there. While his brother didn’t sway his decision, Kenny seems to be grateful for having the chance to play alongside his brother.

“The best part about attending the same school as your brother is the time you get to spend with them. This opportunity is one that does not come around often for siblings,” said Kenny. Gary also enjoys playing on the same team as his brother and said that it is a lot different playing together in college than in the past. “Now it is more of teaching rather than competing,” said Gary. “College sports are completely different from high school and since I am two years older I use my own experience to teach him how to succeed.”

Both said that they are still competitive with one another but that is a positive thing because it makes the both of them better players. Garry added, “I do love to win though so at times I will give Kenny a little reminder that he is still only a freshman!”

Competitive Captains

For twin senior swim captains Katelyn Desrosiers (Gorham, Maine) and Kristen Desrosiers (Gorham, Maine) it seemed only natural for them to attend Holy Cross together. “Kristen and I have gone to school together our whole lives so when it came time to apply to college, I didn’t even consider going to a different school,” said Katelyn. “We were both drawn to the smaller community and catholic aspect of HC so right away we knew we both wanted to come here.  I wouldn’t say Kristen influenced my decision, we kind of decided together.”

The Desrosiers both agreed that they are very competitive with one another and have been for as long as they remember. “Ever since we were little we would make competitions out of everything,” said Kristen. “It could be anything such as who can hold their breath longer, who can draw better, who can run faster, etc.”

Despite their competitive nature, these twins remain inseparable. They are both psychology majors with premed concentrations so they also spend their time out of the water, studying with one another. “The best part about having my twin at school is that we’ll be able to look back on our times at HC and remember having those experiences together,” said Katelyn.

Pair in the Patriot League

Freshman softball player Emily Jarvis (Hopkinton, Mass.) and senior football player Patrick Jarvis (Hopkinton, Mass.) clearly don’t play the same sport, but claim their athleticism comes from competing against each other growing up. “All of my siblings were extremely competitive with each other growing up,” said Emily. “Both unfortunately and fortunately, I was the only girl in my family so from a young age, my brothers always forced me to go outside and play with them. While most of the time I wasn’t happy being forced to play, I can say it definitely helped me become the athlete I am today.”

Not only did Patrick help get his sister into sports, but he pushed her towards choosing Holy Cross. “When my sister started to narrow her choices I tried to influence her decision,” said Patrick. “I had tried to do the same to my younger brother but he ultimately decided to attend Bucknell. When it came to my sister, I was adamant she wouldn’t end up at a different Patriot League school. I was in her ear throughout her recruiting process plugging Holy Cross and telling her all the benefits she stood to gain by choosing Holy Cross.”

While Emily was initially hesitant about going to the same college as her brother, she is now glad she did. “Going to college with my brother is a lot better than I thought it would be,” Emily said. “It is nice to have someone from my family that I can go to if I have a problem or to just have breakfast with. Seeing a familiar face every once in a while around campus is always a reassuring feeling and makes me feel as if I never really left home.”

A Home Away From Home

Lacrosse player Matt Smith (North Bethesda, Md.) seems very excited to have his brother Gillin Smith (North Bethesda, Md.) join him on the team this year. “Going to college with a sibling is a lot of fun,” said Matt. “Gillin and I live in DC so Holy Cross is pretty far from home; having a sibling up here at school with you makes it a lot easier. My parents enjoy it too because they kill two birds with one stone when they visit.” He added that not much has changed now that he is at school because they had always been close growing up. “We used to share a room growing up so we were always around each other and loved competing with each other whether it be in sports, video games, who can eat the most, etc. I always won though; don’t let him tell you otherwise.”

Gillin enjoys going to the same school as his brother because they have always been close, and remain so at college. “We have similar friends so we hang out inside and outside of lacrosse,” Gillin said. In addition to being able to spend time with his brother, he also likes the perks of having a sibling at school. “The best part is having someone who can personally help me out with things like picking classes, lacrosse advice, etc., because he has been there before.” However, the perks do come with consequences. “The worst part is probably for the majority of the first semester I went by the name “Matt Smith’s brother.”

Keeping it in the Family

Hockey players Joe McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) and Mike McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) both agree that nothing beats combining athletics with family. Their parents are both graduates of Boston College; their father was a hockey player and their mother was a member of the tennis team. The McNamara’s also have two other brothers who played ice hockey at Colgate. There’s no surprise here, that there was always competition in the McNamara household.  “With four boys in the family, it's always been that way, especially in sports and I've loved every minute of it, including the fights,” said Mike. “Nobody will admit to being second best in any sport, except in tennis our mom has us in that sport for sure.”

For Joe, it was a no-brainer that he wanted to continue this friendly rivalry in college. “My brother going to Holy Cross was the biggest reason why I wanted to come to school here, and this has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made,” said Joe. “For most of my life I have been able to go to the same school as my brother and play on the same hockey teams, and it has always been a dream to continue that in college.”

Mike is equally pleased having his brother right there with him. “There's nothing better than family and to have a brother at school with you and that plays on the same team is great. There isn't a worst part.” However, Joe begs to differ about the last part. “The worst part is that he is smarter than I am and gets better grades, so I can't make any excuses by saying that my school is harder,” Joe joked.

Two of a Kind

Identical twins and members of the hockey team Kylee Sullivan (Arlington, Mass.) and Emily Sullivan (Arlington, Mass.) made their decisions to come to Holy Cross independently. “Emily didn't influence my decision to come to Holy Cross,” said Kylee. “It was just a good fit for the both of us. I was never set on going to school with Emily, but I wasn't necessarily set on going to a different school than her.”

Despite the fact that one plays forward and the other defense, they admit to being extremely competitive in high school. Fortunately this has changed in college. “Since college we have matured and started utilizing each other as a support system, and now I don't feel competitive with her at all... except during our lift tests,” Emily joked.

Kylee also finds humor in the fact that her sister goes to the same college. “People can't tell us apart so they'll come up to me thinking I'm Emily and will start a conversation when I don't actually know them which is really funny sometimes, and kind of awkward at other times,” Kylee says.  “Also if I trip up the stairs no one knows for sure if it was me or Kylee, and Holy Cross has so many stairs. But in all serious, I've met a lot of cool people and have had some funny conversations just because they think I'm Kylee.”

All Fun in Games and Names

Freshman lacrosse player Will Weber (Summit, N.J.) gives his older sister Sarah Weber (Summit, N.J.) of the women’s lacrosse team credit for helping him decide on Holy Cross. “I treated Holy Cross like all the other schools but in the back of my mind, I knew having my sister here was a bonus,” said Will. “I knew Sarah loved Holy Cross and it was a good balance between academics and athletics, which was also something I was looking for. My parents love Holy Cross because of Sarah, so they were always pushing for HC during my college search.”

Now that Will is a student-athlete at HC, it makes it easier for their family to spend time together. “The men's and women's lacrosse teams have had a few double headers and our parents are able to come up and watch both of us play in one day,” said Sarah. Sarah believes that going to the same school as her brother has made them closer than ever. The Webers even took a class together last semester. “Our dad told us to look out for each other while at school, and I think we definitely do that,” said Sarah.

However, there is one problem going to school with your sibling. Sarah, who is now a junior, said that everyone called her “Weber” for her first two years of school. When her brother came to school, people also started calling him by their last name. “It can get confusing,” said Sarah. “So some of my friends decided to come up with new nicknames for me. ‘Webra’ is their favorite.”

In spite of the rivalries, nicknames and comparisons, it seems that all the benefits of having your sibling on campus outweigh the negatives. These athletes have shown that a sibling can be more than just a brother or a sister- they can be your personal motivator, an encouraging teammate, or a familiar friend.

Plus now they can check to see who the better sibling is.