Seeing Double: Avon’s Wall twins put the extra in extracurricular activity
Twins Isabella (left) and Juliana Wall put the extra in extracurricular with involvement on the Avon cross country team, color guard and academic honor societies. (Photo by Rick Myers)
By Mike Beas
This time of year, it’s not unusual for Isabella and Juliana Wall to put in 14-hour days at Avon High School at least twice a week.
Whether it’s walking to classes, running on the Orioles’ cross country course or choreographing tossing rifles and sabres as part of the school’s color guard, the twin sisters enthusiastically embrace the concept of busy.
“I don’t know how they do it,” their father Matt Wall said with a laugh.
Moreover, everything the juniors do, they do extremely well. Isabella, the older sister by a minute and the more talkative of the two, is ranked 39th in her class academically with a 4.6 grade point average. She’s been Avon’s No. 1 cross country runner since her freshman season.
Juliana Wall is 44th in a class of approximately 800 students. She, too, owns a 4.6 GPA and is the No. 4 runner for the Orioles. Late in the regular season she broke into the state coach’s poll with a No. 23 ranking. Avon, a semistate qualifier the past two seasons as a team, competed last weekend at the Brownsburg sectional.
“We started cross country in the sixth grade, and we both made varsity as freshmen,” Isabella said. “We do everything together. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. Cross country is physically harder than color guard, but color guard is hard, too, because it takes up more time.”
Cross country practice usually lasts from 3-6 p.m. The sisters go from practice to join the color guard, which is part of the Avon Marching Black & Gold. The band among the top in the state and nation performs in competitions as well as before and at halftime of every home football game.
The twins are best friends, their powerful bond born out of identical looks and similar interests. Isabella and Juliana’s extracurricular involvements extend to being members of National Honor Society, National Spanish Honors Society and National Dance Honors Society.
“It’s nice to have your best friend in your family,” said Juliana, who is referred to as the more laidback one of the two by her older sister. “I wouldn’t actually say we’re competitive with each other. We’re supportive of how the other one does. Our parents have always taught us to be nice and to love each other.”
Earlier this season, the Orioles competed in the Hoosier Crossroad Conference cross country meet at Brownsburg. Isabella Wall crossed the finish line 19th of 85 runners, while Juliana was 47th.
Orioles cross country coach Lee Hoopingarner knows the Wall twins would likely be even better at cross country if not involved in so many other school-related activities. At the same time, he’s glad they are maximizing their high school experience.
“They both balance things really well. It’s impressive,” Hoopingarner said. “As far as their strength and conditioning, I think they would be a little better runners, but I always tell my athletes to have fun with whatever they’re doing. I want them to enjoy their experiences.”