By Jacob Sundstrom
Ryan and John Carrell have a lot in common. They are both third-year students at Cal Poly Pomona, they both run the 5,000-meter as their event of focus in cross country and they happen to have the same face.
Ryan and John are identical twins and best friends to boot. That is why it takes many by surprise that John attended Cal State Fullerton until transferring to CPP this year.
“I had my mind set to go to Cal State Fullerton because I had some Junior Olympic teammates that were going there and some close friends that were going to Fullerton,” said John.
In the end, it was his brother that led him to CPP.
“As the years went on me and Ryan would always talk about competing on the same team like we did in high school and how cool it would be,” said John. “Last year I finally made the decision to make the jump to help Ryan and the Cal Poly Pomona team out.”
Ryan is a business student who is planning to attend grad school, which was one of a few reasons that CPP always felt like a good fit for him.
“Academics was the main basis for coming to Cal Poly,” said Ryan. “Both my parents went here, so that also played a big part in my decision to come here.”
Where Ryan is interested in business for his post-graduate goals, John is looking to stay grounded in athletics. The kinesiology student has been interested in coaching since high school.
“I was always interested in being a coach because I have had a lot of great coaches in running and basketball,” said John. “I’ve seen a lot of good coaches and a lot of bad coaches, and I think by taking all of that in I can be a great coach.”
Their high school coach Jeff Fulton had an impact on both of the Carrell brothers in their most developmental years.
“He always cared for us and looked out for us,” said John. “Coaches like that make me really want to become a coach and have an impact on people’s lives.”
While John is red-shirted this year to keep both of the brother’s eligibility at the same pace, Ryan has his eyes set on becoming an All-American for the first time.
“As a team we’re trying to get [ranked] top three at conference, top five at regionals so we can move on to nationals,” said Ryan. “I want to become an All-American. That’s my main goal.”
John wants to do anything possible to help his brother achieve his goals, through training, motivation and whatever else it takes. Competition has always been a driving force for the brothers, who train together all year round.
“Me and my brother have always been really competitive with each other,” said John. “We’d always be really competitive during a race, but at the end of the day we know we’re best friends, which is great to have. Training with each other all year keeps us at the best level we can be.”
Assistant track coach Tony Reyes has already seen the positive impact John has brought to Ryan as well as the rest of the program.
“Ryan really came into his own over the last year and started running really well,” said Reyes. “At the time we had a difficult time finding training partners for him, but he mentioned his brother was thinking of transferring, and I thought it was a great fit.”
Not only are the two identical twins, their running times are extremely similar, making them great running partners. Ryan ran the 8,000-meter race in 24:28.3 in 2011 while John ran the same distance in 24:45.3, both times were their best for 2011 in that distance.
“John brings a new dimension to the team because everyone knows that he is just as fast as Ryan, and it’s great to know you have guys like that leading the team,” said Reyes.
Tiana Teague/The Poly Post
Ryan and John Carrell
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