Siblings in Sports: Maura and Jane Henderson

Twin sisters freshman distance runner Maura and midfield/defender Jane Henderson pose at Goodman Stadium on Friday, April 8, 2016. The twins are both members of Lehigh Sports teams, while Jane is a member of the Lacrosse team, Maura is a member of the Track and Field Team. (Kendall Coughlin/B&W Staff)

Freshman distance runner Maura Henderson and midfield/defender Jane Henderson stand at Banko Field on Friday, April 8, 2016. The twins are both members of Lehigh sports teams — Jane Henderson is a member of the lacrosse team, and Maura Henderson is a member of the track and field team. (Kendall Coughlin/B&W Staff)

The summer going into her junior year of high school, freshman Jane Henderson verbally committed to Lehigh for lacrosse. What she didn’t know was that her twin sister, Maura Henderson, would join her.

Maura Henderson, who was also recruited for lacrosse, was originally interested in Navy, but with a mixture of strong athletics and academics and a 5-year education program, she said Lehigh was the perfect fit.

“During the college decision process, Jane and I didn’t have any strong feelings of needing to attend or not attend the same school,” Maura Henderson said, “but we ended up looking at all of the same ones.”

While Jane Henderson had committed to Lehigh before her sister, Maura Henderson admits she was nervous when she announced to her family that she would soon be a Mountain Hawk along with her sister.

“I didn’t want to follow her in any way or have her feel like I was taking her ‘thing,'” Maura Henderson said. “I think that’s a major part of being a twin, learning the balance between doing things together and taking away from each other’s independence. In the end, I like to think she’s happy to have me here.”

Happy, she is.

“The best thing about having my twin sister at school with me is that she is always there,” Jane Henderson said. “We are really close to our parents, younger sister and grandparents, so having Maura here helps me from getting homesick.”

The two sisters have supported each other through their first semesters here at Lehigh, but one of the biggest difficulties Jane Henderson said she helped her sister with was when Maura Henderson decided to no longer play lacrosse at Lehigh and instead run track.

This would be the first time they would not be playing the same sport since freshman year of high school, when Jane Henderson ran cross country and Maura Henderson played field hockey.

In high school, the two played on a number of teams together from basketball and indoor track to lacrosse.

“We were on a lot of successful teams in high school together, so it’s incredible to be able to experience significant moments together,” Jane Henderson said.

The twins, who are from Narbeth, Pennsylvania, said their high school, Harriton, won the 2013 PIAA state championship in girl’s lacrosse. In 2015, their indoor 4×800 relay got second at the PIAA indoor track championship. A few weeks later from this win, the team finished 10th at the New Balance indoor nationals.

They said, however, there’s no doubt their success comes from having similar characteristics.

“The biggest similarity Maura and I share is that we are both very passionate about the sports and activities we are participating in,” Jane Henderson said. “We like to be competitive in everything we do.”

They have certainly carried these traits with them to Lehigh. In the 2016 indoor track season, Maura Henderson was a member of the 4×800 relay team that took third place and that set a new school record at the Patriot League Championships with a time of 8:55.29. Jane Henderson, who plays attack and midfield, is also contributing on the lacrosse field with four goals this season.

While the two have always taken both athletics and academics seriously and both share a competitive persona, they also said they’re different in many other ways.

“We are polar opposites but in the best sort of way,” Maura Henderson said. “In sports I was always the defender and she was always offensively oriented. She likes cookies, I like encouraging her to eat cookies. I like writing, she likes art. She’s super neat, and I’m not. She’s somewhat reserved, I have the habit of saying whatever I feel.”

It’s these differences that make the two closer both on and off the field.

“I like to think our differences make us complete each other,” Maura Henderson said. “We’ve always said if we were one person, we’d be unstoppable.”

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