YARMOUTH — Rhiannon and Gareth Vos have been near the front of the pack for the Monomoy cross-country teams for the past couple years.
Rhiannon, a senior on Monomoy’s girls team, and Gareth, a junior for the boys, have routinely earned first-place finishes while running their own races independent of each other.
When they aren’t competing for the Sharks, however, they are pushing each other to improve while training near their home in Marstons Mills.
The training sessions aren’t always fun for both of them.
“She likes to run with me and will run with me all the time. I don’t particularly like it,” said Gareth, who led Monomoy’s boys with first-place finishes in the team’s first two meets of the season.
“He doesn’t want his sister anywhere near him in running,” added Rhiannon, who has set the pace for Monomoy’s girls.
Gareth said his older sister likes to “one-step” him and attempts to turn their practice runs into races.
“I guess it’s good for her because she gets to run faster,” he said.
Rhiannon said that’s the exact reason she enjoys running with her brother.
“He wants to be much better than me, but I think it helps me because I can push myself and follow him,” she said.
As much as running together might be a delicate subject for the siblings, there’s no doubt that it has helped them become one of the best boy-girl cross-country duos on the Cape.
While Gareth took first in each of the team's first two meets — losses at Falmouth Academy and Dennis-Yarmouth — Rhiannon also finished first in the girls team’s season-opening victory in Falmouth.
Although she was disqualified from the D-Y meet for running an extra portion of the course, Rhiannon still posted a time of 20:20, which was the fastest among the girls despite the added distance.
Monomoy coach Don Bates said she has “a good chance to run in college at a high level.”
Her teammates view her as a source of inspiration.
“She’s awesome,” said Courteney Dery, a senior from Harwich. “She’s my motivation to keep going and get that second place.”
Dery and Rhiannon have served as the leaders for the girls team, which fields just six runners including three that are new to the program.
“Half of us are new and have never run before, so I think we’ve been really good about getting in shape and making a really good friendly bond,” Dery said. “We’re all really close, which really helps.”
Like the girls, the boys are still coming together. Gareth and seniors Jack Yuskaitis and James Machnik have taken on the leadership role for the group, which lost multiple seniors from last year’s team to graduation.
“We lost a good amount of seniors last year and we didn’t know how we’d be doing this year, but we’ve got a lot of underclassmen,” said Yuskaitis, a Barnstable resident. “It’s good to kind of train the other guys.”
Bates said he hasn’t been trying to push the younger runners on both teams too much thus far. The longtime cross country and track and field coach said they’ll ease into the season at their own pace.
“They’re going to grow into it,” Bates said. “I try not to lean on them too much and to let them get a feel for what they’re doing. It’s better to be patient, but I do expect some significant improvement when we get on our own course because they’re more comfortable there.”
As much as the runners are looking forward to the process of improving throughout the season, Yuskaitis said he’s also excited about closing out his career at the Cape and Islands League’s meet.
“We’re looking forward to the league meet, it’s the last meet of the year and all the teams from Cape Cod do one race together,” he said. “I’m looking forward to that because that’s when all of the hard work of the whole season pays off and we get to see everyone’s final result.”
Email Brad Joyal at email@example.com.