Tale of the Week - Double Take
Athletics - posted on 12/12/2005
While it may cause you to do a double take, you're not seeing double when the Lakeland women's basketball team takes the court this season.
And that guy who just finished wrestling at the 133 weight class for the Muskies didn't decide to come back out and wrestle at 141.
The Lakeland women's basketball team and the wrestling program each have a set of twins on their roster. The Panske twins of Wallace, Mich., Kristi and Kari, play basketball, while Chris and Casey Klister of De Pere are wrestlers.
The Panskes are seniors and are finishing up their last season of collegiate basketball together, while the Klisters are just getting settled into the newest stage of their athletic lives after memorable careers at Wrightstown High School.
Women's basketball head coach April Arvan and wrestling head coach Pete Rogers will both be the first to tell you that they enjoy every minute of having these dynamic duos on their squads.
"It has been fun, first of all to just watch both of them evolve throughout the years," Arvan said. "To see them both interact with each other, how they finish each other's sentences and how they interact both on and off the court. They are both great people individually, but together they are even greater."
Both Kristi and Kari Panske talked about how special it has been to compete together on the same team throughout their college careers.
"It is really nice," said Kari. "I always knew she (Kristi) would be there and I could count on her, and if I got in trouble, she would always bail me out and be there for me."
"It is just great playing with her (Kari)," said Kristi. "She has been there to support me all the time. If I have a bad practice, she is there to back me up, even off the court, and I do the same for her."
The Panskes have always pushed each other. They are very competitive, especially when playing basketball in their driveway back in Wallace, Mich.
"We play one-on-one in the driveway," said Kari. "Kristi beats me all the time because she backs me up and steps on my feet. But if we had a longer driveway, I'd win because I'd be able to use my speed."
Kristi agrees completely with her sister adding, "If Kari beats me, I get really mad, and we fight a lot on the court at home." Without missing a beat Kari interjected, "Sometimes our games only last five minutes because one of us gets mad and doesn't want to play anymore."
As their high school playing days were winding down, they started looking for a school where they could play basketball.
"We pretty much knew we wanted to come together and wanted to play basketball together," said Kristi. "We just went from there, and narrowed down the choices to where we could go to do that."
For the past three seasons, the Panskes roomed together, however, this year marks the first time they have not. Kari says it has been an adjustment since she is no longer living with the person she grew up with.
"The thing I noticed is that if she was in the room sleeping or whatever, it was alright for me to go in there and make noise because it was just Kristi," said Kari. "If she got mad, she'd get over it."
Kristi said living apart has brought them closer together in a sense.
"I think that since we are apart a little more we have actually grown closer," said Kristi. "Because we don't see each other all of the time, we're talking to each other about our days instead of fighting with each other."
For the Klister twins, their relationship is different than the Panskes. The Klister twins never worked out a lot together before they came to college.
"This year we started working out together more than in the past," said Chris. "In high school, we didn't work out together because sometimes we'd get in a brawl and stuff."
While the Panske twins roomed together for their first three years of college, the Klister duo decided to live apart their freshman year.
"We don't room together," said Chris Klister. "I room with another friend from my old school."
The Klisters actually got into wrestling because they attended a basketball game. They attended a game with their father and were introduced to the head wrestling coach and they were invited to try out.
"My dad's friend was the head coach for wrestling and asked us if we wanted to try out," Chris said. "We said 'Sure we'd give it a shot' and we just got into it after that."
The Klisters have had nothing but success since they started wrestling, as they both won state titles in high school. The successes they each had helped push them on the mat.
"Just watching him win the state titles made me want to win one a little more as well," said Casey. "All the excitement and drama that comes with it he got and I wanted."
Being on the same team as each other has its advantages and disadvantages for the brothers.
"Being on the same team is a good advantage sometimes, because you get to be together almost all the time," Casey said. "A disadvantage would be if he loses and I win or the other way around, someone is hurting."
Both coaches admit that it can be tricky remembering who each of the twins are. While they like to think that they have it down, they still make mistakes.
"If I take a glance at them and say something really quick, I might get them confused," said Rogers. "Usually, if I see them next to each other, I won't get them mixed up."
It certainly can't help that each set of twins likes to play some pranks. The Panske twins have coach Arvan confused on who is the oldest - it's Kristi … at least that's what Kari said.
The Klister twins are no different when it comes to teasing their coach.
"In Stevens Point, they told me that they were right on weight, but then they decided to eat and drink," said Rogers. "I told them they had to go check back in. Then when I see the weight after they re-weigh, they are a pound under. They do things like that all the time."
Both sets of twins talk about how they do everything together. The Klisters grew up playing the same sports and pretty much just being around each other all the time.
"We are not separate at all," said Casey. "We are always together. If you see one of us on campus, you most likely will see the other one. We take the same classes as well. There is not much that he (Chris) doesn't like that I don't like. We like the same sports, not just wrestling, but we play basketball, football and other stuff like that together."
The same can be said for the Panske twins. However, next year will mark a very different journey for them, as Kari will remain at Lakeland while Kristi will graduate and move on.
"Next year, I'm still going to be here another year, but she (Kristi) is not," Kari said. "Everybody just keeps asking us 'What are you going to do?' We have been together for everything. I think the most we've ever been apart is two nights at a time. So it is going to be really different next year. I really count on her to be there, and it is going to be a lot different."
Kristi echoed her sister's concerns, but she believes in the end it will work out alright.
"We've roomed together ever since we were little kids, until this year, as our roommates split us up," said Kristi. "It is a change at first, but you get used to it. I'm sure after we split up (next year), we'll always talk."
Arvan, whose dad is a twin, said she has thoroughly enjoyed being around the Panskes for the past four seasons, and so far Rogers has enjoyed having the Klisters at Lakeland. Each coach said they will never hesitate to recruit siblings, and yes even twins, to their programs in the future.
"Right now, David Copp is wrestling for me," said Rogers. "His brother Sam wrestled for me last year. It helps a lot having that extra competition in there. As brothers, they are competing among themselves as well, which just seems to motivate them. If the twin thing worked out again, I'd certainly consider it."
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