Page 26 - Scene Magazine 45-02 February 2020
P. 26

Sibling Rivalry
at Its Best
Sibling rivalry is an ageless phenom- enon. Competition to gain attention from Mom, Dad, Grandpa, and Grandma
is nearly impossible to avoid. Brothers and sisters from all walks of life create
a measuring stick against one another
in pursuit of friendships outside of the family and accomplishments in school
at an early age. This animosity can be enhanced when siblings are involved in high school sports. The term animosity may carry with it a negative connotation but in many cases the combative side of a sibling rivalry is only a small fraction of the entire relationship. This natural com- petition amongst brothers and sisters will often create a bounty of positive relation- ships and memories, providing a healthy support and drive to enhance excellence and achievement through the years.
Harper Creek High School coach-
es have seen what the combination
of athletic genetics and siblings being siblings can do on the playing field over the last two decades thanks to Gary and Laurie Berning. Gary and Laurie have sent nine amazing children through the halls of Harper Creek as students and out onto the playing fields as athletes. Team Berning has represented Harper Creek athletics well over the years. Although the
entire Berning story is intriguing, it is what the four youngest have accomplished for the cross country teams over the last six seasons that illustrates sibling rivalry at its best. All four girls have experienced suc- cess as runners individually while at the same time pushing the sister just behind and in front of them in birth order in an ongoing process of exchanging places on the Berning pecking order.
Although Team Berning’s journey with high school running is at its peak with
the end of an era just a few years away,
its roots can be traced back to the mid 1970’s when family patriarch, Gary, was making a name for himself as a Harper Creek track and cross country runner. Gary began his high school athletic career in 1972. He participated in track all four years of high school and eventually joined the cross country team for his junior and senior years. His primary track events in- cluded the mile run, the open 400 run and the long jump. At that time high school cross country runners raced three miles with Gary’s converted 5K PR coming in at 17:32. Injury claimed the last half of Gary’s senior cross country season. Gary reflects, “I injured my foot midway through my senior season. I tried to run through it but eventually had to abandon the season.”
“It’s a really hard decision. To pass my sister or not to pass my sister.”
– Emma Berning
Gary continued to run on and off after high school but work, family commitments as
a father of nine, and an aging body has made it difficult to keep up.
Gary and Laurie would start dating
in 1982 tying the knot a year later. They started their family a few years after their wedding with the birth of their oldest child, Holly, in 1986.
For those who have followed Harper Creek athletics over the years, it would become obvious that the Berning children were natural athletes. Holly ran track
in middle school and then joined the
Pom team in high school. In terms of running, the rest of their children would pass on the torch with each starting in middle school. Hope ran track all the way through high school. Zach did both track and cross country. Jordan was a member of the track team. Quinton participated
in both track and cross country. It didn’t take long for the standard to be set for Team Berning that although it was ac- ceptable to participate in multiple sports, that track and, or cross country would be a natural part of the sports year. The four younger siblings, Hannah, Emma, Sarah, and Madi would all become involved in cross country and track starting in middle School.

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