From the left: Isabel Maria, Lehigh ‘23, Peter Maria, Lafayette ‘23, Eddie Cheney, Lafayette ‘23, Nick Cheney, Lehigh ‘23. Siblings talk about what it’s like going to rival schools. (Courtesy of Isabel Maria and Eddie Cheney)

It runs in the family: Lehigh-Lafayette sibling prepare for the 157th Rivalry


For most students at Lehigh and Lafayette, The Rivalry lasts one week in November. For siblings who attend the opposing schools, the feud is ever-lasting. As the 157th Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry game is upon us, The Brown and White spoke to Lehigh students and their siblings who attend Lafayette.

Nick and Eddie Cheney 

Nick Cheney, ‘23, and his twin brother, Eddie Cheney, ‘23, who goes to Lafayette, said they did not know the two schools were rivals when they applied. Being best friends, they were just excited about being so close and having the ability to visit one another.

Once they realized the schools were rivals, they knew they would be in for some fun, Eddie said.

When asked who celebrates The Rivalry better, Nick said — with no hesitation — Lehigh does. 

“I’ve got to say Lafayette just because it’s my school, but, in full honesty, I go to Lehigh to visit Nicholas during Le-Laf,” Eddie said. “The atmosphere is really fun. All of his friends jokingly make fun of me, but it’s never really serious to the point where it’s not fun. It’s really fun having banter.”

This year is no different, as the twins plan on tailgating together at Lehigh.

The brothers agreed that their favorite part of The Rivalry are the bed sheet banners that both schools make and hang up around the respective campuses.

“The best part of celebrating the Le-Laf rivalry is being able to have a friendly competition to look forward to each year that we can joke around about,” Nick said. “Meeting up on the gameday and celebrating is also something that is always really fun.”

Isabel and Peter Maria

Similar to the Cheneys, triplets Isabel Maria, Lehigh ‘23, and Peter Maria, Lafayette ‘23, are happy to go to school so close. Peter said the two take turns visiting each other and usually make it to the other’s campus three to four times a semester.

Isabel said when she and her brothers were applying to colleges, their parents wanted them to stay relatively close to their home in Pennsylvania. After touring schools, Isabel realized she really liked Lehigh, and Peter really liked Lafayette.

Over the past couple years, Isabel said she’s gotten to know Easton better and meet a lot of Peter’s friends — and vice versa for Peter in Bethlehem. She said it has been nice to be immersed in each other’s college lives, but it hasn’t come without some jokes.

“One of my best friends goes to Lafayette, and I went to visit her during the game, and I came over to the Laf section wearing all of my Lehigh stuff, and all of her friends were roasting me so terribly,” Isabel said. “It was hilarious because it was all in good fun. Anywhere you go, it’s honestly so amazing, because if you wear Lehigh gear around anywhere and you see someone who is wearing Lafayette, it’s just that immediate spark, that recognition, that playful humor.”

When asked who celebrates The Rivalry better, the Marias agreed that both schools do it well, but each said their school does it better.

“I’m of course going to say Lafayette (celebrates better),” Peter said. “Roll pards — it’s one big party here. At Lehigh, I know you guys like to have a good time too, though.”

Isabel said her parents and their friends will be coming to watch the game, and she and Peter plan on meeting up with them. 

Hannah and Frederik Weller 

Hannah Weller, Lehigh ‘24, said she and her brother, Frederik Weller, Lafayette ‘25, both had interest in Lehigh and Lafayette when applying to college.

She said she had originally wanted to go to Lafayette but ended up changing her mind and committing to Lehigh because she liked the research Lehigh was doing in her field of study, neuroscience.

She said Frederik wanted to go to Lehigh after seeing how much she enjoyed it and sharing her interest in engineering. However, Lafayette reached out to him for rowing.

Now, The Rivalry has become a light-hearted joke between the two of them. Hannah said while she and her brother have a good relationship, they are competitive — Le-Laf has brought it out of them.

“I feel like it’s going to get worse because he’s still a freshman and I’m a sophomore, so we’re still kind of new to this, but I feel like over time it’s going to be a more serious thing,” Hannah said. “ If we do win this, I will constantly, constantly talk about it to him.”

She said this year’s game will be Frederik’s first time visiting Lehigh, but she has already made the trip to Lafayette. 

“He told everyone that I did go to Lehigh, and it was so awkward for me,” Hannah said. “There were signs everywhere about Le-Laf and the football rivalry. You do not feel welcomed. That’s all I have to say.”

Both Wellers will be in attendance at The Rivalry game, sitting on opposite sides of the stadium. Frederik said they plan to meet up after the game. He is curious to see everything go down but is most excited to see everyone come together.

“Getting people together and the passion people show, just getting excited,” Frederik said. “Seeing how campus life is right now with midterms and the weather getting worse and colder, people tend to be really low energy this time of year, and the rivalry just comes out of nowhere, and it just brings energy out of people, which is really nice to see.”

Carrie and Kristen O’Connor

Carrie O’Connor, Lehigh ’24, left, and Kristen O’Connor, Lafayette ’24, right. Twins talk about what it’s like going to rival schools. (Courtesy of Carrie O’Connor)

Twins Carrie O’Connor, Lehigh ‘24, and Kristen O’Connor, Lafayette ‘24, grew up visiting Lehigh’s campus throughout their childhood, being from the area. When it came to applying to college, Carrie liked the familiarity of Lehigh, while Kristen was looking for something different — Lafayette for Division 1 swimming.

The Rivalry has been a family topic ever since. Carrie said they will compare everything from football games to classes. Their favorite event, though, is the Lehigh-Lafayette swim meet, where Carrie is happy to cheer for both the Mountain Hawks and her Leopard sister.

The twins said their parents will be coming to the game to share in some rivalry fun. Kristen said she doesn’t know which team her parents will be sporting, but she was unhappy to find out Carrie bought their dog a Lehigh sweater to wear.

“The Lehigh Police Department post (my mom) reposted that and said, ‘the Le-Laf rivalry has begun,’” Carrie said. “I’m sure my parents will be making jokes all the way down to the game. If my mom wears a leopard print jacket just on a random day, (my dad) goes, ‘oh, Carrie, she’s cheering for Lafayette this year apparently.’”

The twins said they are excited that the day gives them the opportunity to come together, even if it means Kristen, who will be arriving in Lafayette gear, has to sit in the Lehigh student section.

“I’m actually going to be sitting with my sister in the Lehigh student section,” Kristen said. “I think that’ll be fun. I’m a little nervous, but I think it’ll turn out okay. Worst comes to worst, I’ll just suck it up and put on a Lehigh shirt.”

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