By eric newman, GSN Staff Writer

It does not appear a few late arrivals to track and field practice are too much of a hinderance for Highland juniors Sam and Ernest Green.

The boys began running later than the rest of the team in an early-April training session after working on metal welding after school. But in the end, they wind up on various medal stands.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find them to get started,” Highland track coach David Montgomery said, “but look how well they’ve done.”

Over midway through the season, the twin brothers are among the state leaders in the 800-meter event, and will contend for the state championship in May. Sam boasted the best time in division I by finishing in 1 minute, 56.14 seconds. Ernest was just over a second behind at 1:57.30 to take third.

The two have been running together since they were little, always racing and participating in other activities together. The races are not always friendly, though.

Part of what makes both runners special athletes is due to their competitive spirit and will to put in the work to win.

“I hate losing to him,” Sam said, looking over his shoulder at his brother.

“Yeah, and I hate losing to him, too,” Ernest added, laughing. “We’re competitive about everything, even like grades or stuff that’s not sports.”

That competitive spirit fades quickly, though, as they take part in many activities together. Many include welding battle ships and maintaining a small garden growing corn outside their family’s Gilbert home.

The brothers spend nearly all of their free time together. They are each other’s biggest fan on the track.

“I’m always yelling encouragement to him when I watch him race,” Ernest said, “and, I know he’s doing the same for me.”

While they are always working at improving their running technique, the two do not just add points to Highland track’s overall score at meets. The Greens are two of the most-beloved athletes on the team.

Montgomery often laughs recalling some of the pair’s antics during long practice runs. He calls them a “couple of characters.”

Among Montgomery’s favorite stories are Sam and Ernest eating bugs on the track, and laying prone on the ground at the top of a nearby hill pretending to shoot muskets at each other in an impromptu Civil War reenactment. All the while, they’re consistently leading the Hawks to track and field success.

“The workouts can sometimes be a grind, and they just make it fun and not so intense, so that everyone’s working hard and enjoying themselves while they’re doing it,” Montgomery said.

The two have already found success together on some of the biggest stages in Arizona.

As sophomores, the Greens were contributors to the Highland 4×800 meter relay team that took gold at the 2018 AIA State track and field championship last May. They hope to repeat that success.

With their current times in the 800 individual races, it is possible they could also don those medals at the 2019 state meet.

“They have a chance to be great, and they’re still just juniors,” Montgomery said. “They are going to get even better.”

The Greens expect nothing less.

“It’s been so cool the other times we’ve won races together. We’re hoping it can happen again for the championship,” Sam said.