Sibling rivalries. They’re fun to be part of and entertaining to watch. They can also drive a brother or sister insane if they get too heated. ACU sports features a few look-alikes on the golf, tennis and football teams.
Adam, Alex and Luke Carpenter, from Little Rock, Ark., all enjoy hitting the greens together and are taking full advantage of that opportunity as Wildcats on the golf team.
Micah and Kaysie Hermsdorf can be seen walking on campus with tennis racquets in hand as they make their way to the Eager Tennis Pavilion. Like the Carpenters, these sisters share a love for their sport and were fortunate enough to end up on the same squad.
Other siblings in ACU athletics include: Julia and Laura Mongin (tennis) and Darrell and Vicente Cantu-Harkless (football).
Adam and Alex are twins, while Luke, sophomore finance and management major, is the youngest of the three Carpenter brothers. Alex (6 feet) is slightly taller than Luke who stands at 5 feet 11 inches tall. Adam is the shortest at 5 feet 7 inches. The trio has played golf together since they were young. They were a part of the same high school team and said this experience is very similar to their teenage years in Arkansas.
“For us it’s like our high school golf,” said Adam, also a senior finance and management major. “We push one another to be better because we’re all very competitive. But at the same time we’re there to help one another.”
“It’s a dream,” said Alex, senior marketing major. “Not many brothers get to go to college with each other or play a college sport together on the same team. We really enjoy it.”
“I grew up playing with them,” Luke said. “I watched them play their first couple of years in college and then got the opportunity with Coach Campbell to come down here.”
Head coach Mike Campbell talked to Luke like he would any other recruit and did not give him special treatment because his brothers were at ACU.
Alex said he and Adam did not have ACU on their radar until it was almost time to make a decision, but circumstances fell into place and this is where they ended up. Part of those circumstances were the result of what their father told them in high school. They would have to pay for college.
“He [their father] knew there were a ton of scholarships out there, and that with our athletic ability and academics we’d be able to figure out a way to pay for school,” Alex said. “We were able to all find a place we could go to and get a full ride.”
The twins made it clear, once recruiting started, that they were fine with going to separate universities.
“Coaches would ask us if this was a package deal,” Adam said. “We told them we’re individuals and we’re just trying to find schools that fit our needs. ACU did that. It’s really cool how the Lord worked.”
Campbell said he did not remember mentioning a package deal to Adam and Alex but he did ask if attending the same school was important.
Although Adam and Alex were willing to attend different universities, they have been inseparable since arriving in Abilene. The two have lived together since their freshman year.
“We love it,” Adam said. “He [Alex] helps me with anything; golf or academics and I’m the same way with him.”
Luke, who is the quietest one of the three, was still looking at schools when his brothers came to Abilene.
“I was looking at a lot of schools as far as college golf goes,” he said. “It all just came together.”
On the course, the Carpenters are fierce when it comes to sibling rivalries. The group enjoys talking about their competitive natures and each of them grinned when asked to describe their relationship on the course. They would much rather be playing on the same team at tournaments than fighting each other to try to qualify for one golf spot on the traveling team, which can only take five players.
Campbell said there have been instances where Adam and Luke have had to battle each other for one of the five spots and he said all three have made the traveling squad several times. The players can be exempt from competing for a spot depending upon how they do at tournaments throughout the year. Because of his play, Coach Campbell said Alex has always been exempt during the season.
“When that happens, it can get pretty competitive,” Adam said. “I just have to realize I’m not playing my brothers, I’m just playing the course. It’s fun being on the same team because I know they’re going to give 200 percent. That’s what you want out of a teammate.”
Adam won his first collegiate event as a Wildcat at the Charles Coody West Texas Intercollegiate. In 2011, he was the Lone Star Conference Academic Golfer of the Year. Alex entered the spring season his freshman year as the 18th ranked golfer in the nation. His junior year, he was the LSC Player of the Year and entered this season ranked as the 15th best golfer in the nation. He was able to participate in a PGA Tour event in 2011 and got Luke to caddy for him during a practice round. Luke finished ninth at the LSC Championship his freshman year and was named to the LSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
“Golf is all individual,” Alex said. “We were really able to push each other to get out and practice when it was cold outside or at eight in the morning when we’d rather be inside. Going the extra mile is what has helped us all three become the players we are now.”
The ACU golf team has also benefited from having the Carpenter trio. In 2010, the team finished first in the LSC during the spring season and recorded a seventh place finish at regionals. Their best year came in 2011 when they placed third in the LSC tournament, first in regionals and third at the national meet.
Micah and Kaysie, from Spring, have a somewhat different relationship than the Carpenters. The two blondes have also been playing a sport together since they were young, however the duo does not believe an intense rivalry exists between them.
“In high school we each had our own friends,” said Micah, junior advertising and public relations major with a minor in music. “Kaysie played soccer for awhile, so I think that kind of separated us.”
“When I left for college it was harder to communicate but I think that made us closer as sisters,” she said. “We had to communicate more since we weren’t together.”
Kaysie, a freshman accounting major, did not want to attend the same school as her older sister.
“At first I didn’t want to go anywhere she [Micah] was going,” she said. “But then I decided ACU was a good place for me. It was the best school competitive wise and I really liked the girls on the team and the coach.”
“I remember her asking me if it was ok to come here,” Micah said. “It has been nice having someone from back home to talk to. It’s always nice to have family here because you’re never going to be alone.”
The sisters have a past of playing doubles together. They were able to compete some as a team in high school, but the two were not as close back then and did not always get along on the court.
“She [Micah] got very upset with me once in high school,” Kaysie said. “But now we actually want to play together. We play and practice together for offseason.”
Head coach Hutton Jones decides who is matched with whom, so the Hermsdorfs have not been able to play as a team competitively yet.
In her first semester as a Wildcat, Kaysie doubled up with senior Laura Mongin. They had a 13-3 record, won the Aggie Invitational Championship and reached the semifinals of the USTA/ITA South Central Regional Championships. Kaysie also got some experience playing singles. She went 10-3 and won the Kansas Invitational G Draw.
This fall season, Micah went 10-5 in singles and 8-5 in doubles with her partner, senior Hannah Kelley. Micah and Kelley reached the quarterfinals at the USTA/ITA South Central Regional Championships. Her sophomore year, Micah was named LSC Academic Player of the Year, Third Team Capital One Academic All-American and First Team Academic All-District VI. She and Kelley finished the spring season with a No. 4 national ranking.
Whereas the Carpenters share much of the same interests, Micah and Kaysie are complete opposites. They not only have different majors and hitting styles in tennis; Kaysie said she has always wanted to be the opposite of Micah, even when they were growing up.
The girls agreed that they think a lot alike, however their personalities are not the same.
“I feel like she [Kaysie] is more outgoing than I am,” Micah said. “I’m quiet and won’t speak up as much. But we do kinda think the same.”
“The first day of school we wore the same green pants and didn’t plan it,” Kaysie said; both girls laugh.
The sisters try to hang out outside of tennis as well. They can be seen getting frozen yogurt together and Kaysie will stop by Micah’s house when she has free time.
“Micah had this extra credit thing for class where she had to attend recitals and I went with her to some of those,” Kaysie said. “Even though we’re sisters and we see each other, we text throughout the day.”
Sibling rivalries can push brothers or sisters apart. For the Carpenters and Hermsdorfs, the opposite is true. Sports have drawn them closer in their relationships and physically brought them together.