Cornish brothers bring sibling rivalry to cross country team

After outstanding running careers at North Valley High School, in Grants Pass, Ore. twins Jonathan (left) and David (right) Cornish now have the opportunity to compete together at the collegiate level.Photo: Alyssa Leslie
After outstanding running careers at North Valley High School, in Grants Pass, Ore. twins
Jonathan (left) and David (right) Cornish now have the opportunity to compete together at the collegiate level. Photo: Alyssa Leslie

When David and Jonathan Cornish joined the Titans cross country team in August, they set a goal to become the top runners while helping the team ascend to new heights.

The Grants Pass natives and twin brothers have competed against each other since childhood in cross country, wrestling and basketball.

When going into a race against each other, their mindset is geared towards being competitive and keeping their sibling rivalry alive. Jonathan wants to show that he is still faster than his brother. David wants to show that the few times he did beat his brother were no fluke.

That competitive fire between the two brothers caught the attention of Titans Head Coach Mike Blackmore.

“They are both hard working guys, and I knew that by just watching them run in high school. I knew that they went to practice everyday and worked hard,” Blackmore said.

Even though these two brothers loved competing with each other in high school, David almost ended his cross country career in favor of playing soccer.

“I wasn’t going to do (cross country) in college. I was probably going to focus on my studies, but then I got really good, and I just said, ‘Oh I’ll try it out in college,’” David said.

They both started cross country in middle school and Jonathan has always been the faster of the two.

“We are closer now. Back in middle school I was beating him by 30 seconds, and now we are about a couple seconds apart,” Jonathan said.

Jonathan said their competitive nature motivates them to push each other during practices and when racing.

“I love running. Besides the competitiveness, I just love running for fun,” David said.

David added that during training they both sprint and have exactly the same pace while putting in the same mileage.

“Sometimes I have to tame them down a bit because they like to work hard, but they understand the concept of our team goals and come to work everyday with the idea that it’s all about the team,” Blackmore said.

David said that during the race they are looking to compete and become better runners for the Titans as well as get the team into a top contender spot.

“Just getting up to the front and just trying to compete, the biggest thing is to compete and don’t ever give up,” Jonathan said.

David and Jonathan came into the Oct. 5 Willamette Invitational with differing goals.

Jonathan wanted to run under 26 minutes and he almost beat that goal by running 26:00.35 while placing 51st in the men’s 8000 meter.

David’s individual goal for the meet was finishing in the top 10, while helping the team to succeed.

David finished the race by running 27:18.87 and placing 108th overall.

These two brothers have different school paths when their time at Lane comes to an end .

Jonathan wants to transfer to a Division 1 or Division 2 four-year university. He is considering going to the University of Washington, hopefully by earning a running scholarship.

David would also like to go to a four-year university and run cross country. He has been talking to Western Oregon University and right now that is his number one choice.

After about 19 years of going to school together and competing with each other, the Cornish brothers have decided that it’s time to move on alone and start to make a name for themselves.