Wahlund sisters bring unity to Majettes cross country team
Allie Wahlund wasn’t feeling well during a high school cross country meet.
The Minot High School cross country team emphasizes running as a pack, so a fellow Majette raced alongside her. That runner was Allie’s twin sister, Abbie.
One particular individual watched Abbie give Allie a boost. Majettes head coach Carla Wahlund witnessed her daughters share that moment.
“It was like, ‘Come on, let’s go,'” Carla said. “She was encouraging her and supporting her. That was pretty cool for a short distance. They were running next to each other and trying to help one another out.”
Teamwork won the day. Allie’s time of 20:37 clinched the No. 33 position, while Abbie’s 20:55 cemented the No. 44 spot. The Majettes earned a victory on that rainy, blustery day at Souris Valley Golf Course in Minot.
“I’ve learned to keep pushing myself,” Abbie said. “(Allie) always pushes me every day. We’re competitive in a good way. We always keep pushing each other. We are each other’s biggest supporters, I would say.”
The Wahlund sisters are key contributors in a senior-laden group. The majority of the 10 senior Majettes have run together since the seventh grade.
“It’s about grit and teamwork,” Allie said. “You have to work together and push through all of the hard practices and meets. You are never alone. You will always have someone that will help you through all of it. If you don’t have teamwork, you can’t ever do well. You’ve got to be united and push each other.”
As the foundation of the Majettes’ bond formed, Abbie reached an important juncture in her life. She originally wanted to play volleyball in seventh grade, but did not know much about the game.
Allie made up her mind quickly — she would run cross country. Although their older sister Brecca ran for Minot High and North Dakota State, Abbie still felt uncertain.
A conversation with Carla helped steer Abbie’s course.
“Volleyball is not for me,” Abbie said with a laugh. “I’m glad I did cross country. Without cross country, I would not have had all of these girls with me. It teaches you to keep pushing hard. It pushes you to your limits, and I like that. I’ve loved the sport since I joined it.”
The sisters denied a sibling rivalry. Although they support each others’ endeavors, their coach sees each daughter’s desire to win.
“They’ve still got the competitive side,” Carla said. “I see one turn and sprint off when the other one is coming. I’ve seen growth to know that if one is strong, it doesn’t mean you can’t pass the other one.”
Allie and Abbie’s academic interests differ. Allie wants to explore the medical field in college, while Abbie prefers business courses.
Surprisingly, the twins do not share a birthday. Allie was born at 11:52 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2002, while Abbie arrived at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 19, 2002.
“At first, some said, ‘Oh, they don’t have the same birthday,'” Carla said. “Now, it’s pretty cool for them to be able to celebrate uniquely on each separate day.”
The clock continues to tick on the Wahlunds’ high school careers. Both sisters took time to reflect on lessons learned through the sport.
“Sometimes, you will have your bad days,” Allie said. “It is not always easy, but you always love it no matter what. You will always have those hard practices where you are working hard. You get to meet a lot of cool people, and we’ve all gotten really close.”
The Majettes will race at Saturday’s state meet at Souris Valley Golf Course. The final high school cross country meet for the senior twin sisters.
Carla said she gets emotional when she thinks about her daughters.
“Like any athlete, I hope they learn to put forward their best efforts,” Carla said. “That is all that matters. Working hard in the long run will pay off.”
Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.