- By Alan Hieber Contributing Writer
At the Miami Duals track meet last month you might have sworn the same runner won the 800 meters and finished fifth in the 400. In actuality these were the respective results of Wright State’s identical twin runners Victoria and Sophia Angelopoulos.
When you consider the athletic prowess of their parents, the twins’ success is no surprise. Their mother, Sandra, played volleyball and basketball at Urbana University and now competes in local running events and triathlons. Their father, Paul, competed in track at Fairmont High School.
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Victoria and Sophia attended Centerville and coached by Matt Somerlot, who has previous experience training Olympic throwers. As a senior Victoria qualified for state in the 4x800 relay, and Sophia made it as an alternate in the 4x400 when she was a junior.
Once it was time to choose a college some of the possibilities for the sisters were Miami, Butler and Wright State. They didn’t consider being a packaged deal at first, but it was in the back of their minds.
“One day Victoria walked into my room and said, ‘I can’t go to a different school than you,’” Sophia said.
With this new mindset it was a no-brainer they would attend Wright State together after a positive campus visit.
“It was a pretty easy decision,” Victoria said.
Victoria has a 2:14.22 personal best in the 800 and 4:41.53 in the 1500. Both of those are top five times in school history.
In the 800 at last year’s Horizon League outdoor championship she finished runner-up to former teammate Jessica Warnecke in the title race.
“Being right behind and seeing her (Warnecke) wave her hands in when she crossed the finish line was the coolest part of it,” Victoria said.
Sprint races in the 400 and 400 hurdles are the strength for Sophia, whose best times are 58.14 and 1:04.93, respectively. Those times are good enough for a top 10 ranking in program history. She won both at Otterbein last weekend despite a short break between the two.
The twins say they have been confused with one another before, and it has come into play on occasion during relay events. One such case was in a recent 4x400.
“We were both on the second leg handing off the baton at the same time. Our teammates got confused and switched,” Sophia said. “I had to go off to the right to pass off to my teammate because they couldn’t tell us apart. It happens more often than it should.”
In practice the Angelopoulos’ are sure to get the required miles in and then some, according to WSU coach Rick Williamson.
“They will overwork if you let them. You just have to hold them back every day because they’re so motivated,” Williamson said. “They would work out six hours a day if they could, but you try to convince them not to do that.”
A sibling rivalry hasn’t really developed between the two on the track at WSU, especially since their event specialties differ.
“It’s a healthy competitiveness,” Victoria said.
“She would kick my butt in the 800. It’s very encouraging that I can watch her run when I’m warming up,” Sophia said.
“I go out of my way to make sure they’re not in the same race. We try to steer clear of that because it’s not going to help their sister relationship,” Williamson said.
However, when they’re going head to head in racquetball anything goes.
“It’s not like we say things to each other, but you know the other person really wants to win,” Victoria said.
Both will be looking for wins this weekend as the Raiders head to Rochester, Mich. this weekend for the Horizon League Championship meet.