Billert twins team team up at Keene State
KEENE, N.H., 9/28/10 – A year ago at this time, Sean and Mary Billert had quite a dilemma on their hands. While the four-hour trip from their home in Center Conway, N.H., to Westfield, Mass., was certainly a concern, considering Mary had to leave work early to make a 7 p.m. game start, there were more serious issues that needed to be addressed.
The couple was on their way to see their twin daughters Kalin and Alexandra play in a field hockey game. What was the big problem? Kalin played for Westfield State, while Alex played for Keene State. To compound matters, both Sean and Mary were Westfield State grads.
In the past, the two had headed off in opposite directions, attending different games. But this problem called for a more realistic resolution. Instead of splitting up, Sean and Mary decided to split the difference. Sitting directly on the 50-yard line and wearing a clashing wardrobe of Westfield blue and Keene State red, the two cheered loudly for their daughters. “We definitely stood out,” said Mary. “How cool was that?”
While both parents and twin daughters enjoyed the night of sibling and Owl rivalry, Kalin walked away with an extra bounce in her step after the game. Her Westfield team edged Keene State 1-0, giving her a win and, just as important, family bragging rights.
“Kalin never let down. Thanksgiving, Christmas, she was always reminding me of the score,” said Alex.
When Westfield plays Keene State at Owl Athletic Complex on Wednesday night, there will be no rush to leave Conway, no rivalry, and no bad color combinations on the sidelines.
After spending a year at Westfield State, Kalin decided to join Alex at Keene State this fall. When she visited Alex last year, Kalin said she felt a double dose of good vibes. “I really liked what the school offered, and I missed having my sister around,” she said.
Alex and Kalin, who is 25 minutes older, were inseparable growing up. They wore identical clothes and shared the same bedroom. Both sisters were energetic, talented, and highly competitive.
“I think we’ve always been competitive,” said Alex. “But it’s a spirited rivalry that motivates us.”
“If one did something, the other had to do it too,” said Sean. “We just stood and watched. It was fun to see how it came out.”
Both sisters were star athletes at Kennett High School, where they played multiple sports and both earned All-State honors in field hockey. As seniors, they helped lead the Eagles to the State (Class I) championship game.
While Alex claims that their distinct voices are identity give-a-ways, coaches and teammates sometimes have to be reminded. One day in practice, they each wore a shirt with their name written all over it. “We just try to have fun with it,” said Kalin.
Following high school graduation, both decided it was best to part ways. “We said, "Let’s separate. Let’s see what it’s like to be normal and be called your own name,” said Kalin.
“We wanted to explore being by ourselves and we wanted to play against each other,” said Alex.
After the trial separation, both realized how much they missed the other. “It’s like having my best friend back,” said Alex. “I couldn’t be happier.”
“Things have worked out better than I thought," said Kalin. “In some ways I don’t feel like I transferred. The Keene State team has been so welcoming and having Alex here made the transition absolutely easy.”
While KSC coach Amy Watson admits she has her good and bad days telling the twins apart, she has no problems with the speed and work ethic they bring to the Owls. “They are both under-the-radar impact players,” said Watson.
The fact that is will be the Owls of Keene State against the Owls of Westfield State on Wednesday night and not Billert vs. Billert is just fine with Sean and Mary Billert. “This is fabulous. We had a brand new car and put on over 12,000 miles in field hockey trips alone,” said Mary. “I wouldn’t change a thing, but going to one place is a lot easier.”