In track, two minutes can be the difference between going home happy about your time or feeling disappointed in your performance.
In the case of Bradley track athletes Eric and Emily Delvo, two minutes means something a bit different.
Eric and Emily are twins, and their births are separated by two minutes. Eric, the eldest, is a member of Bradley’s outdoor track team while Emily competes for the Braves’ track and field squad.
Both Delvos had successful high school careers.
While enrolled at Sacred Heart Griffin High School in Springfield, Emily led her team to an 800-meter state title her senior year along with numerous other achievements that include a four-time all-conference selection, a three-time all state selection and a share of three school records.
As for Eric, he played baseball and basketball in addition to running track. Despite being a three-time letterwinner and two-time all conference runner, most of his success came after arriving on the Hilltop.
“I had a couple big races, like the one indoors at Notre Dame last year when I set a personal record,” Eric said. “Ever since then, it’s kind of been uphill. I had good workouts with Chase [Coffey] and Nathan [Davis], and that helped a lot.”
The workouts have helped Eric move from the eighth runner on the track team to third at the beginning of the year. Coach Mark Burns said he believes Eric’s confidence is the reason he’s grown.
“I think the biggest thing that’s changed in the last year for Eric is he’s found his own niche,” Burns said. “I think he’s always felt that Emily was the great runner, and he was a good runner, and he never had the confidence that she had. Now you’re starting to see him race with confidence.”
That newfound confidence led Eric to the sixth place on the all-conference team. Emily made it too, coming in at seventh. It’s just another competition for the highly competitive twins, with this round going to Eric.
“They’re just competitive people,” Burns said. “If we’re driving down the road trying to pick out red cars, they’re going to try to win. It doesn’t matter, you give them anything and they’ll compete.”
That’s a statement both Eric and Emily seemed to agree with.
“Everything we do is competitive,” Eric said. “We’re both health science majors, so when I get a test the first thing I ask is ‘How’d you do?’ We can’t really compare times as much in running, but in school or with anything really I try to turn it into a game.”
“I’d say we both have a competitive streak to us. Neither of us like to lose, that’s for sure,” Emily said.
Competitiveness runs in the family. Paula Buscher, Bradley’s former women’s head basketball coach, is the Delvo’s aunt. The immediate family is just as competative.
“Their parents came with us to Nashville and we were playing bags with Mr. Delvo and he was fighting tooth and nail to beat us, so I see where the competitiveness comes from,” Burns said.
As competitive as they are, not being able to compete is a tough thing to endure. Last year, Emily tore a labrum, a potentially career-ending injury that required surgery and forced her to redshirt the spring track and field season.
An injury like that is supposed to shut you down for four months, but Emily began running three and a half months later. She started off slow, increasing her time by one minute every other day until she was back in gear. Coach Burns is impressed with what she has accomplished since the injury.
“She’s having all this success, running 2:10 [in the 800 meter race] and winning the conference meet indoors and then running 4:26 [in the 1600 meter race] this weekend which is ridiculously fast, and she’s just getting going,” Burns said. “What she’s doing right now is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Both Delvos are huge assets to the Bradley track program. They were a part of Burns’ first Bradley recruiting class, and have set the tone for other recruits since their arrival.
“They’ve been one of the anchors to the renaissance of our program,” Burns said. “Eric, Chase, Emily and Sarah have been key pieces all the way through as we’ve built the program. When we got here, there wasn’t a lot of team dynamic.”
On or off the track, the Delvos are just as close. They keep each other from missing home too much, and they rely on each other if they have to.
“It’s nice to have someone to talk to if I ever need to,” Eric said. “She can always turn to me, and our parents don’t have to drive to two different schools to watch us run.”
Emily said she thinks having her brother at school with her takes away some of the pressure of missing home.
“I came to school knowing someone; it’s kind of a comforting factor,”` Emily said. “I don’t really ever get homesick. I can just go talk to him.
Bradley’s track teams are in action this weekend at the Stanford Invitaitonal in Palo Alto, California.
Garth Shanklin is the Scout Sports Editor. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @GarthShanklin.