Page 27 - Scene Magazine 45-02 February 2020
P. 27

Hannah and Emma
Hannah was the next of the nine chil- dren after Quinton. Her decision to run in the spring and the fall as a sixth grader and beyond would begin a run of almost a decade with at least two Berning sisters on the cross country team every year with the exception of the 2018 sea- son, when Sarah had the team all to her- self. To most it would seem that Gary’s love for running would be the catalyst for each of his nine children to follow in his footsteps. Although this has surely been a factor for each of his children to be- come involved in running, Hannah points out that her decision to run on the cross country team lies much deeper than following in her dad’s footsteps. “I don’t really have one person as an inspiration. I think the inspiration really comes from when I saw my brother’s running cross country or track. That’s when I knew that this is what our family did. Our family ran and we were good at it.” Although Laurie has never claimed to be an athlete, this mother of nine would play a major role with her children’s involvement in the world of sports. As a young adult Han- nah recognizes this. “Mom would drag us to all of our siblings’ sporting events.
I remember how exciting it was to cheer them on. That’s when I decided that
Madison and Sarah
that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a part of that atmosphere. I wanted to be a runner.”
Sporting activities are limited in
middle school. Cross country is the only option for a fall school sponsored sport and track is the only option for a school sponsored spring sport. If the Berning girls wanted to be a part of school sports they would have to start out as runners. With the family involvement in running it probably wouldn’t have mattered if there were other sports offered. Emma joined the track and cross country teams as a sixth grade student with her older sister Hannah one grade ahead of her. Emma’s explanation for choosing to run is simply put. “In middle school there were no fall sports for us except for cross country.
My siblings were all runners. My sister Hannah was a year older than me and she ran.” Sarah who is three years behind Emma would join the club next with Madi the youngest rounding it out two years later.
Perhaps what makes the high school running careers of Hannah, Emma, Sarah and Madi so unique is as impressive as each of them are as runners, the younger sister would eventually leave the older one behind in the dust. Emma would start
The Berning Family
this trend early on in the seventh grade. Emma beat Hannah in one of her first cross country meets as a seventh grade runner and did not look back. Hannah would never cross the finish line ahead
of Emma after the duel in seventh grade. The realization that her younger sister was a faster runner than her became a hard pill for Hannah to swallow through middle school but once Hannah and Emma became High School cross coun- try teammates Hannah’s attitude would change. Hannah’s response when asked about her thoughts of her little sister out-running her are heartfelt. “The first time Emma beat me in cross country was in eighth grade. I remember right after I finished that I was so embarrassed. Emo- tions definitely run high in our family and
I couldn’t hide my frustration. My middle school coach thought that I had injured myself because I was crying and was so surprised when he found out that it was just because Emma beat me.” Hannah’s embarrassment would fade soon enough. “Once we started running together in high school, I was no longer embarrassed when Emma would beat me. I wanted
her to succeed and make our team better just as much as I wanted to succeed.

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