Friday’s prep

football games

Mountain View at Sandy, 7 p.m.

Grants Pass at Summit, 7 p.m.

Eagle Point at Redmond, 7 p.m.

South Eugene at Ridgeview, 7 p.m.

Sisters at Valley Catholic, 7 p.m.

Cottage Grove at Crook County, 7 p.m.

Madras at La Pine, 7 p.m.

Rogue River at Culver, 7 p.m.

Gilchrist at McKenzie, 7 p.m.

Bend at West Salem, 7:15 p.m.

Isabel is the introvert, Fiona the extrovert.

They live together, run together, ski together, train together, and they have an uncanny knack for finishing each other’s sentences.

The Max twins have lofty goals, and they plan to go about accomplishing them like they have done most everything throughout their 16 years: together.

This fall that means attempting to lead the Summit girls cross-country team to its 11th consecutive state championship.

That could be more difficult this season, as the Storm move from Class 5A to Class 6A, the state’s highest athletic classification.

“I think this year, because we’re moving to 6A, the team feels a little bit of healthy pressure to outperform some of our 6A rivals that we’ve already been outperforming,” says Fiona Max, who was second in the 5A state meet last year. “And I think it’s really driving us in our workouts and in our recovery. I feel like we have a lot to prove in 6A. Jesuit will give us a run for our money, for sure.”

Isabel Max finished third at state last year, just behind her twin sister.

“I think we’re stronger than last year,” Isabel says. “We’re all really close, so that helps a lot. We have one senior on our team so we’re pretty young, but it’s exciting for the upcoming years.”

The fraternal twins have won state championships on the track, Fiona in the 3,000 meters and Isabel in the 800 this past spring. And they have state titles on the snow for Summit’s nordic ski team.

As they start their junior year and begin to explore college opportunities, they say they will have to choose between running and skiing.

Soccer was actually their primary sport through their freshman year, but they switched to cross country for their sophomore year.

The twins’ parents, Kevin and Sarah Max, are both avid skiers and runners. Bribed with the promise of hot chocolate, the twins started classic skiing with their folks at age 5, often getting towed uphill, Sarah recalls. They started running short distances with their parents at age 11 as a way to see the sights while traveling in Europe.

A year later, the four were running together and the twins told their parents that they did not have to run so slow, Sarah remembers.

“Ha! That was our pace,” Sarah says. “… For us, it was just a fun thing and part of our lifestyle.”

With club soccer as their focus, the twins did not train seriously for running until high school. Even now, Isabel says, they are running about 35 miles per week, a modest regimen compared with many other high school runners.

“But it preserves us for college when it’s really high mileage,” Isabel says.

The twins say they are best friends, although Fiona adds with a laugh, “not by choice.” Still, the ability to live and train with their best friend perhaps gives them an advantage. And the sibling rivalry can heat up the competition on the cross-country course, the track and the snow.

“We do push each other to do our best and work hard, and yeah, there’s a lot of competition,” Isabel says. “But I think it’s competition in the way that we both know each other’s strengths, and we both know each other’s weaknesses, so we can just key off of each other. It’s kind of nice to live with your training partner. It reminds me every day of my goals and what I need to be working toward. We’re frank with each other, which is something you wouldn’t get out of a teammate who’s not your twin sister.”

Fiona says it is often easy for an athlete to over-analyze things when training with and competing against a twin sibling. But she says they always keep in mind that they are two different young women with different skill sets.

Isabel, for instance, is better at 800 meters, while Fiona is stronger in the 1,500 and 3,000. That means Fiona is more often faster in cross-country races, typically 5,000 meters, but Isabel is seldom far behind.

“She easily beats me in 800s,” Fiona says. “And at junior nationals for skiing, she got an All-American award, top 10 in the sprints, and that was not my day. And I was totally jealous and very happy for her at the same time.”

Isabel says her goal in track next spring is to run a time of 2 minutes, 10 seconds, or better in the 800.

Fiona says she is hoping to improve her placement this November in the Nike Cross Regionals Northwest, where she finished in the top 20 last fall. She also hopes to run 4:29 in the 1,500 on the track and in the low 9:50s in the 3,000.

Both sisters say they want to use running — or possibly nordic skiing — as their ticket to an academically prestigious school.

Fiona is interested in journalism and international relations, while Isabel mentions architecture as a possibility.

“We always joke that if we went to college without each other …” Fiona says, “… I would have no social life,” Isabel interjects with a smile.

“And I would have bad grades!” Fiona adds. “But it works out. It’s like PB and J, salt and pepper!”

— Reporter: 541-383-0318,