Siblings & Rivals
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
By BRIAN SMITH Columbian staff writer
Like many other teenage sisters, Hockinson's Sarah and Shannon Porter often bicker over things like clothes.
"She told me she wasn't going to take anything out of my laundry, but she did," an animated Shannon Porter said, recounting the morning's drama. "So, to get her back, I wore her socks. And then I took them off and --,"
"She spit in them," Sarah Porter finishes her sister's sentence, not missing a beat.
Then, with a big smile, Sarah adds: "She's such a brat."
Tension released, the siblings immediately begin to giggle and laugh so loudly that a once-quiet hallway at Hockinson begins to draw the curious looks of a group of straggling students.
Battles over wardrobe aside, when it really matters, very little can come between the Porter sisters.
It turns out that the same is true on the cross country trail.
Sarah Porter opens her senior season as Hockinson as the defending Class 2A state champion.
Shannon Porter, a sophomore, is the defending state runner-up, at last year's state meet in Pasco was one of a long string of 1-2 finishes for the sisters.
"Sarah once told me, 'You know, I'd rather have Shannon as my competitor than anybody else,' " said Laurie Porter, the girls' mother. "And I think that says a lot about their relationship with each other.
"They make a great team. They get along well -- most of the time. They push each other. It's great."
The Porter sisters bond comes from being part of a family of runners.
Last week, the Porter sisters were leading the Hawks' cross country team in a practice run along the exterior of Hockinson's athletic field.
Their brother, sophomore Matt Porter, follows in the pack with other members of the Hockinson boys team. Laurie -- currently training for the upcoming Portland Marathon, with an eye on 2008's Olympic Trials -- watches from the wings.
"Once they're on the course, they're trying to beat the competition as a team and get first and second," Matt Porter said. "It's a pretty neat rivalry."
Hockinson head coach Tom Ortner, who has known both girls since elementary school, feels like the intensity of the rivalry has yet to hit its ceiling.
"They're excellent teammates," Ortner said. "It goes back to Sarah coming out to middle school meets, just to watch her sister run. And Shannon is really going to challenge Sarah this year, so it should be very interesting."
In a season already filled with high expectations for the Porter sisters, Sarah hopes to use the exposure to land a scholarship at a major Division I college.
"Last year was great for me," she said. "But this year is all about doing even better, setting personal records and trying to draw the interest of college coaches. I'm already getting letters, but I really want to be able to make a commitment.
And while readily acknowledging their athletic talent, the Porter sisters have back-up plans intact should a career in track not be in the cards.
"Drama is my other passion. I want to be an actress," Sarah said.
"And I want to be a--" Shannon began.
"She wants to be a photographer," Sarah finished, all smiles.
Girls Cross Country Preview
Other runners to watch
Athlete Yr. School Of note
Lauren Breihof Sr. Mountain View 4A GSHL runner-up
Paige DeLapp Jr. Evergreen 4A GSHL second team
Chelsea Hostetter So. Columbia River 21st at 3A state meet
Kelsey Klettke Jr. Prairie 4A GSHL first team
Zara Lukens Sr. Columbia River 3A GSHL second team