Running for both Sydney Shanahan and Bailey Shanahan might look easy to the untrained eye.
Then again, that untrained eye might not be able to tell the Post Falls seniors and fraternal twins apart either.
“It absolutely still happens,” said Sydney of being called Bailey at school. “Some people don’t realize that we’re sisters because we’re not in the same classes.”
Before each race, Bailey will do Sydney’s hair to keep it out of her eyes.
“I always do two braids and a ponytail in her hair,” Bailey said. “The two braids is because we’re twins, and I’ve always done that. For me, it’s more of a ‘you’re proud of me, I’m proud of you, and we’re in this together’ kind of thing.”
“We’re very laid back,” Bailey said. “We really don’t bicker or argue. We get along really well and are very respectable of each other’s space if something is wrong. We used to share a room, but don’t anymore. We’ve each got too much stuff now.”
When it comes to hobbies, that’s where the two differ, if that’s possible.
“I like a lot of different stuff,” Sydney said. “Bails is more of the artist in our family. I’m more of the whatever, just-get-it-done kind of person. I really like listening to music, and am really all over the place from listening to relaxing music to rock and roll.”
“I like to draw,” Bailey said. “I do artsy stuff all the time, enjoy reading and choreography.”
Together, the Shanahans have been a big part of Post Falls recent wave of success in cross country, each advancing to the state 5A meet in each of the last three years.
For Sydney, the decision to start competing on the team was pretty simple.
“I’m not very good at any other sports,” Sydney said. “So running is really the only option left. I sort of get lost in my own thoughts naturally on the course. When I’m running, I just kind of forget what I’m doing. I’m naturally just lost in thought anyway, so running helps with kind of escaping the daily grind.”
The same goes for Bailey.
“I’ve just always ran,” Bailey said. “In fifth grade, I was recruited to go to the Junior Olympics and really liked it. It got really expensive, so I didn’t do it after that, but just kept running because I really enjoyed doing it. Once we got to high school, and Sydney got really good at it, it was more fun to watch her run and for me, to get to run with her.”
Post Falls finished sixth in the state 5A meet at the Lewiston Orchards in 2018. Sydney was 23rd, while Bailey finished 45th.
In 2017, Post Falls was 10th at state, with Sydney finishing 12th and Bailey 40th.
In 2016 — the twins’ freshmen year — Post Falls was 11th, with Sydney finishing 27th and Bailey 81st at the Portneuf Wellness Center in Pocatello, the site of this year’s meet.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching everyone on the team grow into their potential,” Bailey said. “(Sophomore) Sammie (Wood) was behind me when she started, and now she’s going out and winning races and is one of our top runners.”
“Sydney and Bailey were obviously very talented runners from the start of their high school career,” Post Falls cross country coach Brian Trefry said. “But I think they have gained confidence and they understand that they can compete at a high level and they expect to compete at that high level. The difference between their freshman and senior year is how they approach races and carry themselves.”
Bailey added she’s been keeping an eye on where the Trojans fit when it comes to competition around the state.
“I’ll take all the numbers from our races afterward and put them together to see where we’re at as far as other teams in the state,” Bailey said. “I just love numbers. It really gives us an idea of where we need to improve in the next few weeks.”
“Bailey’s the captain of the cross country team,” Sydney said. “She’s always putting her leadership skills out there, while I’m a little more shy.”
Sydney broke the school record in the 3,200 meters last spring at the state 5A track and field meet at Eagle High, finishing in 11 minutes, 3.40 seconds.
“When she broke the school record, and she smashed it, I was crying and so proud of her,” Bailey said. “I didn’t even need to run, because it felt like I’d won too.”
Both plan to attend college following graduation, but are unsure on a location and major as of yet.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to get a lot of scholarships and get it all paid for by myself rather than relying on my parents,” Sydney said. “If it needs to happen, then it needs to happen. But if I could get it all paid for so I wouldn’t have to worry about it, that would be great.”
“I had Bailey in my dual-enrollment U.S. history class, and she’s an excellent honors student,” Trefry said. “I have not had Sydney in class, but numerous teachers have told me that she is a great student and a wonderful person to have in class.”
“I really want to find the best option for me,” Bailey said. “I’m not sure on a major because I like so many different things. But I’m going to kind of wait and see what happens. I’ve been messing around with a few different things and classes in my senior year to figure out if that’s something I’d like to continue to do.”
When it comes to their favorite classes, both Sydney and Bailey vary.
“I really like English,” Sydney said. “I really enjoy getting into the creative and fantasy side of writing and stuff like that. I really like science fiction and fantasy. I’ve thought about going into something to with business or forensics. I’m just going to go out there, see what it’s like and hopefully make a decision then.”
Meanwhile, Bailey likes to be creative in other avenues.
“My favorite class is probably drawing,” Bailey said. “You’re allowed to use your creative juices, and it allows me to be more creative-minded that way.”
“They are extremely hard working athletes who are willing to put in the time necessary to excel,” Trefry said. “They are just good kids who are fun to be around. They both have great senses of humor. They are talented runners who are a major part of the improvement of our girls team in the last four years. They are very much invested in the team and helping it to achieve as much as possible.”