Rutkowski twins compete, motivate each other toward success

From left, Faith and Emily Rutkowski. (Submitted photo)

Hollywood has actresses Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and Property Brothers stars Jonathan and Drew Scott. NASA has intergalactic twins Scott and Mark Kelly. Not to be outdone, Apache Junction Unified School District boasts talented twin stars of its own, Emily and Faith Rutkowski.

The fraternal twin sisters are juniors at Apache Junction High School. The pair not only excel in sports, academics and keep busy with school activities, but teachers and fellow classmates describe them as kind and thoughtful young women who serve as shining role models for their peers.

Emily, the elder of the two (by mere minutes) has participated in varsity soccer, track, cross country and swim since her freshman year. She is the treasurer for student council and LEO Club, and she is also a member of the National Honor Society.

Faith joins her sister on the soccer field (both girls play forward) and is a member of the cross country and track teams. Off the field she is active in the LEO Club and a National Honor Society member.

Friendly sibling rivalry serves as an ongoing motivator for the twins.

“Both Emily and I are extremely competitive and even more so with each other,” said Faith. “We both played forward last year, which was new for me, but was Emily’s main position, so things got really competitive really quick.”

This year Emily decided to give her sibling a run for her money when she took on her sister’s main sport – cross country.

“I have never been a long-distance runner. A sprint around a track was more my type of tea,” said Emily. “Watching my sister run in front of me was impossible, so I tried harder. I never once beat her in a meet, but that was not my goal. My goal was to run and keep up with her every practice.”

In the beginning, Emily admits she didn’t know how to pace herself. She worked on improving her endurance. By the end of the season she was running alongside her twin at every practice.

When the twins play together during a match the game plan is teamwork. However, the sisters admit to keeping track of which one scored the most goals and who led in assists. During soccer practice the girls purposely choose opposing teams so they can compete with each other.

“At the end of the day Faith is my biggest competition and my biggest motivator,” said Emily. “Without her I would not be the athlete I am, and would not be nearly as competitive with myself and others. She makes sport fun. She is my best friend and my favorite teammate.”

During track season the girls compete in different sports. Emily runs hurdles and the 4×4. Faith competes in long-distance running. But the siblings don’t stand quietly on the sidelines while their sibling competes or trains. Each sister shouts and cheers off-field and encourages her twin to push harder and run faster.

Although the girl’s parents, Karen and Daiton Rutkowski, are staunch fans of their sports activities, academics has, and always will be, the main emphasis.

“My parents always told us that having good grades is the priority. School comes first,” said Faith. “But it was never something that I didn’t want to do because getting good grades is really important to me. I’ve always worked really hard in school to get good grades.”

Both girls are enrolled in Advanced Placement classes and consistently make the honor roll. Hard work can be fun. Alec McDaniels, who has the Rutkowski girls in his U.S. history class, remarked on their kindness, academic and athletic prowess, and their sense of fun.

“Both sisters are competitive and can be the life of the classroom,” said Mr. McDaniel. “While at times there is some definite sisterly bickering, they are at the top of the class academically. I have seen them perform both academically and athletically and they put their all into whatever they are doing at the time. These girls can – and will do – whatever they put their mind to.”

Although the twins share a love of sports and excel in academics, there are differences. The contrast may become more distinct after the girls graduate in 2019. Emily plans to play collegiate sports, attend a four-year university and receive a degree in sports medicine. Faith is undecided whether she will pursue collegiate sports, but hasn’t ruled it out. She plans on majoring in psychology.

But for now, Prospector fans that cheer for AJHS’s sports team – and take joy in rooting for scholars who achieve academic success – will be pleased to know the Rutkowski twins will return to AJHS for their senior year in July. Whether they are collaborating or competing, Emily and Faith Rutkowski serve as golden examples of playing, living and learning the Prospector way – with excellence.

Editor’s note: Sally Marks is the public information officer for the Apache Junction Unified School District.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment