Liberty’s Campbell twins bring double positives
May 21, 2013
By Joe Grove
Teachers can tell stories about twins who equaled double trouble, but the Campbell twins, Sean and Matt, seniors at Liberty High School, stand out for their double positive contributions: double the effort in two sports and double the boost of a serious academic climate.
The twins find themselves at home on the basketball court, at track and field events, and in the classroom.
The twins come from an athletic family. Their father William and their mother Arleen are both swimmers; their sister Rebecca plays basketball as a high school junior, as does the younger sister Alissa as a freshman.
The twins started with basketball by playing pig and horse with their father as young boys, but got competitive about basketball in the seventh grade at Maywood Middle School.
“Our coach, Miss Takotta, was the first one who told us, ‘You have the height, so play basketball. Put more work into basketball, and you can continue on into high school.’”
“Another real influence to play basketball was this guy named Donnie Gilmore.” Matt said. “He has a son who played basketball as well.”
When they got to high school, their mother encouraged them to keep with basketball, since they are both 6 foot 5. Sean says Matt is taller by an inch, but he rounds his height up to 6 foot 5.
“We’re identical, so I don’t know why I’m an inch taller,” Matt said. “It must have been that I drank more milk.”
Sean and Matt agree they are both very competitive, even against each other, whether in sports, grades or girls. They claim they don’t date the same girls.
“I’m dating another twin and people say my brother should date her sister,” Matt said. “It’s funny, but no.”
The twins have gone to Liberty all four years. Matt has played basketball all four of them. Sean sat out his junior year, though he did play baseball that year.
“I wanted to focus on grades and think into my future more,” Sean said. “I didn’t really see sports there.”
He came back to play basketball his senior year.
The twins had three basketball coaches their four years at Liberty. They said this was Omar Parker’s first year and they rate him as the best. They said he motivated them, started fundraising more and helps out in the community.
“He is even helping out the girls’ team,” they said. “He is a great guy, and we hope the team does well next year. This year, we went to district for the first time in six years.”
If Sean dropped out a year to focus on studies, the academics must be important.
“I’m into math and science,” Sean said. “I’m taking college math and looking at engineering of some kind.”
Both boys are student athletes, each maintaining a 3.6 grade point average.
“School is real important,” Matt said. “At first, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get school and sports balanced, but I got better at time management.”
He plans to go to Gonzaga University in Spokane, and sees high school as the end of his basketball. He said in college he will focus more on academics with an accounting degree in mind. He chose Gonzaga because “it has a community feel, family members went there and I like Spokane.”
Sean said he plans to go to Washington State University in Pullman, and he also sees high school as the end of his basketball career.
Track and field coach Michael Smith, however, wasn’t going to let them get away without at least a season under his coaching.
Matt said when Smith approached him about coming out for track, he thought it just involved a lot of running, and he got plenty of that in basketball. To make sure he wouldn’t have to do a lot of running, he asked, “If I go out for track, can I just do what I want?
“I’m kind of athletic, and I didn’t want to be pulled into some areas where I didn’t want to be pulled into,” Matt said.
“He said, ‘Just come out and try out for what you want. I won’t say anything about running.’ So, I tried out, and this is awesome and fun, but my brother here was just a little more tentative. We got him out after a couple of weeks and he liked it.
“I like track. Basketball is a team sport, and track is more individual, so what you put into it is what you get out of it.”
Sean throws the javelin and does the triple jump, while Matt throws javelin and does the shot put. They both confess to running a couple of laps for warmup when they practice.
When asked what he had gotten from high school sports, Sean said, “One thing is the social aspect. I have made many friends. It has instilled competitiveness. I’m not accepting an F on a test. I want an A in everything I do. I want to do the best I can.”
Matt said, “A lot of the stuff you do in sports, you also take into the classroom. If I want to get an A, I have to study. If I want to throw further, I have to work on my leg strength. If I want to make free throws, I have to practice. It is the same in the classroom. If I want to get better quiz scores, I have to do homework more often. Sports and school are applicable to each other.”