Dynamic duos make a lasting mark at CWU

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Dynamic duos make a lasting mark at CWU

Friends on and off the court, Sadie Mensing (left) and Taylor Shaw (right) are the dynamic duo of the women’s basketball team.

Friends on and off the court, Sadie Mensing (left) and Taylor Shaw (right) are the dynamic duo of the women’s basketball team.

Friends on and off the court, Sadie Mensing (left) and Taylor Shaw (right) are the dynamic duo of the women’s basketball team.

Friends on and off the court, Sadie Mensing (left) and Taylor Shaw (right) are the dynamic duo of the women’s basketball team.

Bryce Weedman, Dez Rodriguez, Staff Reporter, Assistant Sports Editor

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Many of us have a brother or sister, or best friend that we count as one of our siblings. Some of us have even been lucky enough to play a sport with them growing up. Consider the opportunity to play at the next level in collegiate sports with your brother or sister, or even your best friend. On the same team, in the same sport. There is something special and unique about playing a sport with a sibling or best friend, rather than just a normal teammate. It’s not only fun for the players, it’s a great story for the fans as well. These special players are called a “dynamic duo.”

CWU has a couple of these dynamic duos. If you’ve watched any women’s basketball in the last three years, then you may have noticed a blossoming duo on the court. Junior forward Taylor Shaw and senior guard Sadie Mensing have a strong relationship on and off the court. The relationship started back when Shaw was a freshman and Mensing a sophomore.

“We are pretty much the same person in all aspects,” Shaw said. “We are pretty funny too, like really funny.”

They share the same passion for the game on the court as they do their friendship off the court, and that helps them to feel more comfortable on game day. Sometimes as an athlete, one just needs to have that person to push them in the right direction even when it seems like one isn’t doing one’s best, and that’s the kind of relationship that Mensing and Shaw have.

“Shaw gives me the tough love when I need it, and that’s something I’m not really great at,” Mensing said.

Interestingly enough, the two have never had a moment where they’ve both scored a large amount of points in the same game. It seems that it’s one or the other who has a great game, which might be why both of these athletes seem to fit well together when sharing the spotlight.

“I think Sadie worries more for me. I think when maybe I should be worrying, Sadie does that for me,” Shaw said. “So it like a good a balance between us.”

Sometimes accepting a scholarship to play at the next level means signing with a school far away from family and friends. There is a lot of stress when you have to start a new life playing college sports in a new state or country.  That is what the Pan Brothers did when they decided to accept a scholarship to play college baseball for CWU. Yi-An Pan and Yi-Fan Pan are both juniors at CWU coming from Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Two brothers moving this far to play a sport together is something not typically seen at the Division II level. The pressures of moving so far away can be  softened by having your twin brother on the team with you.

“We are just comfortable with each other,”  Yi-An Pan said. “Sometimes coming to a new team can be uncomfortable, because we don’t know anyone, but I have him.”

The interesting thing about team sports is that it’s not just one person who gets the job done, it’s the whole team. Every piece of the team comes together to back each other up and be successful. Having players that have not only played with each other their whole life, but who have lived with each other and created a bond beyond the sport can help to build trust on the field.

“We are honest with each other and there is no sugar coating with us because some coaches will try to be nice, but not with us.” Yi-An Pan said.

Most would wonder if two players that have always played on the same team year after year, would be able to make the adjustment to play separately on a different team, or without the other being able to play. That’s just what happened last year when Yi-Fan Pan tore his ACL.

“Last year was the first time we didn’t play together because he tore his ACL,” Yi-An Pan said. “It was a little bit different, but I got used to it.”

MLB.com says that one of the most successful dynamic duos in baseball history was Ken Griffey Senior and Ken Griffey Junior, which was a father son duo. Since then, there haven’t been many siblings or family members to play on the same team in college or professional levels which is why the Pan brothers have something to be proud of.

“We just trust each other,” Yi-Fan Pan said. “It’s not that I don’t trust my other teammates, but I know he’s always going to make the plays.”

 

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