Brothers Collin (right) and Brennan (left) Silliman are running together on GC’s cross country team for the first time since they were in high school at Woodward Academy in Douglasville.
Both sophomore Collin and freshman Brennan have been running track and cross country since their middle school years and ran together for six years on the same team.
“[There are] 30 different personalities on this team,” Collin said. “I’ve been trying to teach Brennan about respecting everyone and team unity. I feel like I can help guide him so that when I leave, he can guide the newer people and try to help them build close unity.”
Collin, a psychology major and chemistry minor who hopes to pursue sports psychology, trains with the cross country team and tries to be a leader, especially to the younger teammates. The elder Silliman also excels in long- distance running and setting the pace for a race.
Unlike Collin, Brennan, an exercise science major and biology minor who hopes to go into either animal rehabilitation or do something with exercise science, performs best in races with shorter distances.
“Their racing styles are pretty similar,” said cross country Coach Steven Cary. “Actually, they complement one another. Brennan really pushes the pace and keeps the intensity hot, but Collin is really good at keeping a pace
and moving up through the race, racing smart.”
Despite their unique running styles and personalities, both brothers have rituals involving listening to a specific type of music before races.
Collin prefers 90s music while Brennan gets hyped up for a race with modern hip-hop and rap.
“Brennan is a lot more analytical,” said Cary. “He’s the kind of guy that’s going to be in here every day talking about race plans and why we’re doing what we’re doing. Collin has a quiet confidence.”
Though competitiveness is almost always a factor when siblings participate in a sport together, Cary said cross country is all about having a team mindset rather than an individual one.
“You do have to be careful when you have siblings on the same team and make sure they’re racing for the right reasons,” Cary said. “Brennan and Collin aren’t really like that. I think a lot of the reason why Brennan came here is because he saw the experiences that Collin was having with the team.”
Brennan and Collin typically run in a group of three with teammate Shawn Olmstead, and the trio paces and challenges one another to run the best race possible.
“I don’t like to say we race against one another,” Brennan said. “We race together, and it’s nice to have someone to pace with... We all have a job: to stick together as a solid three. We push each other, but we don’t try to compete with one another.”
Both Collin and Brennan said that having a brother on the team is helpful because they’ve grown up together and are used to each other’s running styles.
“My dad used to always tell me, ‘There’s no one more important than your brother,’ and I believe that,” said Coach Cary. “I’ve told Collin and Brennan that, too. Because they work together so well, that transfers over to the rest of the team.”