A family affair
Often in professional sports, brothers and sisters compete against each other. Whether it is the Manning or Barber brothers in the NFL or the Williams sisters in professional tennis, these siblings helped get each other to where they are today.
NAU is no different; there are three sets of active siblings across four different sports. The Freeman twins participate in track and field and cross country, the Bailey twins are on the football team and the Dallmann sisters participate in volleyball and swimming.
The Freeman sisters, Kayla (who is older by two minutes) and Shayla are both freshmen runners for the Lumberjacks. Shayla was always interested in running, and began in high school, but if not for the summer practices; Kayla may not have ever gotten involved.
“I was too scared to go to practice by myself,” Shayla said. “It was over the summer, the first day of practice, and so I was like ‘Kayla, just go for the first three days, [and] once I make a friend, then you don’t have to stay.’ She was like, ‘Fine, I hate running, running is for losers,’ then she got hooked. That’s how we got started in the same sport.”
Because the identical twins ran most of the same events in high school, the competitiveness helped push the sisters to battle each other, usually resulting in first and second place honors for them.
“It gets emotional. It gets very heated, like really fast. You know how there’s sibling rivalry; I feel like twin rivalry is the worst, you can’t get any worse than that,” Kayla said. “We’re so close, and everyone always says, ‘Oh you guys are like the same,’ but then when we’re not the same, one has to win. You can’t just both win. We wouldn’t do like, ‘Oh this is your favorite race, so I’ll let you win,’ no. You need to earn the win. So we would like out-kick each other, and then there would be some tears sometimes, some anger, and the cold shoulder. It was rough. I felt bad for my parents and our coaches. They would try to congratulate the other one. It would be like first and second place too. The one in second would be so upset.”
Despite the intense twin rivalry, the Phoenix natives are there for each other as well.
“If we’re not racing [against each other], we’re each other’s biggest supports,” Shayla said.
Blake and Tyler Bailey, fraternal twins separated by one hour (Blake is older), hail from San Diego. The twins enjoyed growing up together, knowing that they always had someone to hang-out with.
“Growing up with a twin, it was interesting,” Tyler said. “It was fun, because you always had that one person to relate to, and you always find common stuff that you always seem to be interested in. We have similar things that we like, but we have different personalities. It’s pretty fun because you basically do everything with your twin.”
The Baileys are both cornerbacks for the NAU football team. Blake redshirted his freshman year and walked on the team, receiving a partial scholarship, but earned a full one due to his work ethic. Despite neither one seeing play time, they continue to help each other grow as athletes.
“We always wanted to do our best,” Blake said. “We would have little competitions to see who gets better each game.”
The brothers have always played on the same teams, so playing college ball together is nothing new to them.
“Way back, when we were playing tee-ball, my dad always tried to keep us on the same team so we would have that camaraderie and just that bonding and time,” Tyler said. “Pop-Warner to tee-ball, even high school; all four years of high school we were on the same basketball team, track team and football team.”
The Baileys, much like the Freemans, have that sibling rivalry that carries over from competition to competition, pushing each other to do better.
“We try to have that mutual respect for each other,” Tyler said. “Every now and again, we’ll tease each other. It just makes us wanna work harder to keep that competitive scale up to a high level.”
The San Diego natives did not always plan on going to the same college, but their parents were fans of them attending college together, with them feeling, ‘more comfortable with us being together,’” Tyler explained.
While the Dallmann sisters may not be twins, or play the same sport, they still offer the same support system that the Freeman and Bailey siblings offer each other. Kelli is about three years older than Katie, or two school years as Katie put it, and is the starting setter for the volleyball team. Katie is on the diving squad and finishing her freshman year as a Lumberjack.
While the competitive nature of the Dallmann’s may not be on the court or in the pool, it does lie at home, with the rest of their family.
“We play lots of stuff at home where, our whole family is competitive,” Kelli said. “My mom, my dad and my other sister; it gets pretty intense.”
Because of the age gap, the sisters never had the opportunity to be on the same team, but were always there for each other. Katie enjoys having her big sister around.
“If I don’t have anywhere to go, I just come with her,” Katie said. “She takes me to eat and she’s just like my mom.”
Kelli does not mind having her around because she is protective of her sister. She appreciates having family in Flagstaff.
“It’s nice to have someone here that you can just go to,” Kelli said.
The sisters described themselves as the calm ones of the family, with their younger sister being the one to instigate everything.
“We’re kinda of the calm ones when we’re together, but our other sister gets involved — and chaos,” Kelli said. “The little one is the bully, she beat us up, she tries to beat us up, [and] she thinks she can beat us up.”