To anyone who has seen Peyton and Eli Manning throw touchdowns, or Venus and Serena Williams serve aces, it’s apparent that upbringing and pedigree are pivotal to an athlete’s development. Here on the Hilltop it’s no different with several families claiming more than one Hoya athlete.

No family may be better represented in Georgetown athletics than the Crafts of Jupiter, Fla. Senior Ryan Craft is an all-Big East first baseman and his twin younger brothers, sophomores Brent and Darren, are now in their second year as fixtures on the football squad.

“You couldn’t have written a better script for us,” Ryan says about his family’s success on the Hilltop.

Georgetown recruited Ryan, now the baseball squad’s stalwart 6-foot-4, 220-pound slugger, out of high school. Having grown up with a Georgetown alumnus as a father coupled with a recognition of the opportunities playing on a regular basis for a rebuilding program provides, his decision to commit to play for the Blue and Gray was not a difficult one.

Last spring, when the Hoyas rode a 25-30 record to their best season since 1984, Ryan finished third in the Big East in home runs (13), and sixth in RBIs (48). “Our hitting will be something special next season,” he says, predicting another year on the upswing for Georgetown baseball.

Brent and Darren have taken a more unorthodox road to collegiate athletics. The 5-foot-11 sophomores played only a single season of football as seniors in high school before walking on at Georgetown. The twins were accepted to the university without any athletic commitment.

“Georgetown happened to be the best fit for both of us,” Brent explains.

Brent and Darren decided to try out for football the summer before they arrived, contacting coaches and sending videotapes. The twins’ athleticism and tenacity at tryouts brought them two spots on the roster; for Brent, his second year at Georgetown saw him start at wide receiver in the bulk of the team’s games. Darren figures to be a factor at safety in the years to come.

The Craft brothers consider their formative years the birthplace of their athletic passion: the trio played together on many little league teams.

“I look back on [those years] now, and it was insane,” Ryan says. “At times I was on three different basketball teams.”

Now a member of Georgetown baseball, Ryan is accompanied by two other twin teammates: Warren and Darren Sizemore, staring pitchers and owners of a similar brotherly sports success story.

Georgetown enticed Warren with the chance to play immediately.

“When I saw how he was able to come in and start as a freshman, I started thinking about playing here too,” Darren says. “He and I were very similar in high school.”

Warren did more than start as a freshman. It didn’t take long for the Ross, Ohio, native, now a senior, to show off his right arm; the fireballer was named team MVP. As a sophomore, he led the Hoyas in innings pitched and was named Big East Pitcher of the Week. Things started even better a year later – Warren flirted with a no-hitter against Yale – but his 3-0 start was interrupted by severe pain in his right arm.

The arm trouble forced Warren to undergo Tommy John surgery at the start of last summer, and only now is he starting to throw a baseball again. He hopes to rejoin the team when it opens its season next spring.

The 6-foot-3 right-handers demonstrate some striking similarities to the Crafts when it comes to high school sports. Warren and Darren Sizemore co-captained their football and baseball teams in high school, and Warren captained basketball. Darren, a tight end, was named all-conference in football, and Warren, a wide receiver, was named all-state and started all four years.

“We were always around sports when we were young,” Warren says, “playing every sport, no matter what the season.”

Of course, Hoya siblinghood is hardly confined to the Y chromosome. Meet Lise and Avril Ogrodnick, freshman twin sisters and distance runners on the track and field team. Co-valedictorians at their public high school in Quebec, they now run in almost all of the same events: cross country, 1500m and 3000m. Lise has also taken up steeple chase this year.

The Ogrodnicks selected their college in tandem. “We get along and have a lot of the same friends and interests,” Avril says. “We knew we wanted to come to the same school.”

The twins were highly touted out of high school, and raised their stock after Avril finished first in the 1500m at the under-17 Canadian national championships.

“Avril would always beat me,” Lise says of their high school races, “but now we’re a lot closer.”

Lise shined at the NCAA Cross Country Championship a few weeks ago, finishing fourth for the 27th-place Georgetown squad.

They appreciate their status as teammates, too. “If one of us is having a bad day, we’ll help each other get through it with a run,” Avril says. Adds Lise, “It’s always good to have somebody to run with.”

And the same holds true on the diamond and gridiron. Be it the Crafts, Sizemores or Ogrodnicks, when it comes to Georgetown’s Division I-caliber athletes, there’s just something about the gene pool.

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