Sibling rivalry keeps Lawson twins on track
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Monday, Dec. 09, 2013

Sibling rivalry keeps Lawson twins on track

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- COURTESY OF GEWINA LAWSON
Twins Nicholas and Nicole Lawson have always been competitive, but their sibling rivalry will move to a new level this year with Nicholas transferring to Hopewell High, while Nicole remains at North Mecklenburg.
  • Athletes to Watch Boys Nicholas Lawson Hopewell, Junior Former North Meck standout now looks to be a state contender in the 300-meter dash (15th at state meet last year) with the Titans. Getting Division I interest from Brown, North Carolina A&T, N.C. Central, S.C. State and more. Michael Parkins North Mecklenburg, senior Vikings’ standout finished sixth in the state in the 500-meter dash, now looks to be a 4A state contender again. Devan Sutton North Mecklenburg, senior Sutton looks to be a factor for the Vikings in both the 55-meter hurdles and triple jump in his senior season. Girls Nicole Lawson North Mecklenburg, junior Vikings’ junior believes she will have her best season to date, looking to contend in triple jump (11th place at states last year), getting some Division I and Division II looks.

Nicholas and Nicole Lawson have never had to look far for motivation.

For the last 17-plus years, the twin brother and sister have been competing at nearly everything they do.

The Lawson twins’ most common battles now occur on the track, where both runners are looking to prove they can be among the best in the Lake Norman area, region and state again this winter.

This year, the sibling rivalry took another step in intensity, as Nicholas transferred to Hopewell because of its engineering program, while Nicole is still at nearby rival North Mecklenburg with her father, Vikings’ track coach Lawrence Lawson.

While they won’t compete against each other directly, they still try to one-up each other on a daily basis.

“We’re always trying to out-do each other, finish higher, do something that the other one hasn’t,” said Nicholas Lawson, noting he is 11 minutes older. “But we have also always been there cheering each other on. I think the whole Hopewell-North Meck thing now makes our little sibling rivalry even better.”

Nicole sees things in a similar way

“It’s pretty intense sometimes,” Nicole Lawson said. “I’m always working to be on the same level, to be just as good as or even better than him. I think we’ve helped each a lot just by being a constant around each other and trying to accomplish the same things on the track.”

Both Nicholas and Nicole Lawson also find of inspiration from their father and older siblings.

Lawrence ran in high school in South Carolina at Scott’s Branch High, while his three other children – Lauren Lawson, now 26 (S.C. State), Denzelle Lawson, now 25 (UNC Charlotte), and Ashley Lawson, now 22 (Winston-Salem State, and now a North Meck assistant track coach) – all ran track in college. Lauren, Denzelle and Ashley all also ran at Hopewell High.

“To know that all your siblings have run track in college really motivates us (Nicholas and Nicole) to try and do the same thing,” said Nicole Lawson, who is getting some Division I and II college recruiting interest, according to her father.

“They (Lauren, Denzelle and Ashley) raised the bar pretty high,” said Nicholas Lawson, who is getting looks from schools like Brown, North Carolina A&T, N.C. Central and S.C. State. “We not only want to reach their level but want be even better. We both want to be the best.”

That effort continues this winter, when both Nicholas and Nicole Lawson have set themselves up to be state contenders indoors.

Nicholas’ best events are in the 300-meter dash, where he finished 15th at the 4A state meet last year, and in the long jump. He will also compete in the 55-meter dash and 500-meter run at times.

Meanwhile, Nicole looks to contend in the triple jump, where she finished 11th at states last year but will also run in the 300-meter dash and long jump.

While they used to keep up with each other every day at practice, now they have daily discussions once they get home from school and practice.

“I can tell they miss each other, because they are always comparing notes about what each is doing,” Lawrence Lawson said. “She doesn’t want to be outdone by him, and he doesn’t want to be outdone by her. It’s always been an interesting relationship and fun to watch. But, for the most part, I try to stay out of the middle of it and let them do their thing.”

Lawrence Lawson said both twins should be stronger going into this season, as they both have been working out in the weight room on a regular basis.

But the Lawson twins have different adjustments to make this winter, as Nicole is coming after her North Meck cross country season, where she cut her 5-kilometer time by nearly seven minutes. While most jumpers and sprinters don’t run cross country, Nicole says it has helped her a lot.

“At first, I hated cross country and didn’t think I was going to be able to do it (as a freshman),” Nicole Lawson said. “But I’ve gotten better and better, and I actually enjoyed it this year.”

Meanwhile, Nicholas is coming off his Hopewell football season, where the cornerback says he is still working to get in “track shape.”

While the Lawson twins are focused on contending for championships this winter, like most high-school runners they also hope to use it as springboard for the outdoor track season.

Nicole says she hopes running the 300 and 500 will help her in the 400-meter dash this spring, where she finished eighth in the event at 4A the West regional, while she also will be strong in the triple jump, where she was fifth at the regionals.

Nicholas will look to train for his efforts in the 200-meter dash and long jump, where he finished ninth at the regional meet last spring.

Nicholas and Nicole both believe they are ready for breakout seasons in the critical junior year of high school.

“I’ve worked very hard to get ready for this track season and I feel better and stronger than I’ve ever been,” Nicole Lawson said. “I just have to stay humble and not get ahead myself. I just need to go out and do what I do best.”

“I’m really excited about this year, because last spring I (had) a lot of small nagging injuries,” Nicholas Lawson said. “At 100 percent, I feel I can be a serious contender.”

Jay Edwards is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at jedwardsjr23@gmail.com.

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