Varsity athletes often become as close to their teammates off the field as they are on it, but Katie and Christine Brightwell were close before they arrived at Miami University.
Katie, a junior, and Christine, a sophomore, are both majoring in exercise science, both from Louisville, Ky. and both part of Miami’s field hockey team that has been seeded second in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
The most significant similarity, however, is that they are sisters.
“It’s kind of cool because we can work well together because we know each other and since we’ve playing so long together we know what the other person is going to be doing a lot of the time,” Christine said.
Head coach Jill Reeve said that on certain days, the Brightwells play together really well as a result of their family ties.
“They’re like a dynamic duo,” Reeve said. “They have like a sisterly telepathy.”
In addition to playing well together, the sisters also support each other on and off the field.
“I think we do a really good job with pushing each other and making us do the best that we can,” Katie said.
While both sisters have been successful, they play in different parts of the field. Christine has always played at midfield, but Katie started out as a forward before moving back to midfield and then back to defense, where she plays now.
“It’s our coach’s choice,” Christine said. “She pretty much just decides what kind of skill sets you have and determines where they’ll work best for our team on the field and Katie’s good at defense so she plays it.”
As a result of their differing position, there are times when the girls are on different sides of the field and don’t have interaction during the game. And while the two are a dynamic duo, their individual success is not dependent on each other.
“We can hold our own without each other,” Christine said.
Christine said they are competitive in practice, especially when they do scrimmages.
“We’re usually a little maybe extra competitive with each other because we know that at the end of the day it’s not going to matter,” Christine said. “I’m not really afraid to make her mad or push her.”
Not only have the Brightwell sisters always been together on the field, they are often together off it as well. Christine and Katie live in the same house this year with a couple of other girls on the field hockey team.
“We’re pretty much together 24/7,” Christine said. “We do everything together.”
While the Brightwells enjoy being able to spend so much time with one another, their relationship is not without the typical sibling difficulties.
“They bicker at times,” said sophomore Tricia Clark, who is one of their housemates. “They’re very nice to each other other than that. They just have regular sisterly fights.”
The two said when they get in fights, they usually resolve it within a couple of minutes.
“It’s kind of a love-hate,” Christine said. “I obviously love her because she’s my sister, but we are together 24/7 so sometimes we butt heads.”
Katie and Christine did not plan on attending the same college after high school. At home their relationship is much different because they do not spend nearly as much time together. When Christine decided to follow in Katie’s footsteps, though, Katie said she was more than OK with it.
Katie said it is nice to be with her sister off the field, because the team is together almost all the time.
“To have somebody there who knows you better than anybody else can know you,” Katie said. “It’s good just to have somebody there all the time.”
Their coach thinks the team really benefits from their relationship.
“I think their personalities really shine when they’re with one another,” Reeve said.