2 of a kind: Senior twins share powerlifting passion

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Neena Sidhu

At the spring Meet the Eagles, senior twins Sydney and James Duvall give each other a fist bump as their names were announced. Both have competed in powerlifting for all four years. “Sydney and James have a very unique relationship,” Coach Brian Thompson said. “They can be at complete dismay and upset with each other, and at other times, they get along great. I’ve had to make them stop arguing with each other several times and get on to them like a parent. However the one thing that never changes is the support they have for each other.”

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As the judge watches her closely, Sydney DuVall squats at the regional meet. DuVall was one of seven qualifiers for the meet. It was held at Prosper High School on March 4. (Neena Sidhu)

Senior and twin siblings Sydney and James DuVall understand how it can be difficult to get along with each other one day and find things in common, and then best friends the next. But, they also share their love of a sport with each other — powerlifting.

Sydney and James came to Prosper High as sophomores from Frisco Independence High School, and both have competed in powerlifting since their freshman year. Sydney holds a spot on the girls varsity team and is lifting in the regional meet Thursday, March 4. James competes on the boys varsity team. All powerlifting teams are led by football offensive line coach Brian Thompson.

“We compete in three lifts — squat, bench and deadlift,” Thompson said. “Each lifter gets three attempts per lift, and their best attempts are added together for a total weight.”

Competing in the deadlift event, senior powerlifter James DuVall lifts at a meet. DuVall is a part of the boy’s varsity powerlifting team. DuVall played on the varsity football team as an outside linebacker as well.

Thompson said that in order to qualify for the regional meet, the lifters have to be in the top 12 in their weight class, and in order to qualify for the state meet, they have to be a top-two finisher or reach a qualifying total. 

“Sydney qualified for as a sophomore and has had to deal with injuries the last two years,” Thompson said. “She also dropped a weight class this year. She has become much more sure of her abilities and developed a bigger belief in what she can accomplish.”

Even though they both are successful at what they do, Thompson said he has watched them grow and change throughout their years lifting. 

“James qualified for regionals the last two years, finishing in sixth last year,” Thompson said. “He is just the opposite of Sydney. I have finally got him to see that he doesn’t have unlimited strength, and how to see the long game in the meet.”

Sydney and James both got into powerlifting because they grew up watching their parents compete professionally. Sydney has been lifting since seventh grade, but she didn’t start competitively until ninth. 

“I got into powerlifting because I knew I was really strong for my size,” James said. “My dad was a pro lifter, which helped me fall in love with the sport.”

James also played as an outside linebacker for the varsity football team.

The one thing that never changes is the support they have for each other.”

— Coach Brian Thompson

“Football has helped me mentally with powerlifting and taught me not to quit when it gets hard,” James said. “Powerlifting has made me stronger and faster as an athlete, which definitely transitions to the field.”

Whether they are competing in football, wrestling or powerlifting, Thompson said the twins know to expect each other’s support.

“There has never been a lift the other one hasn’t been there cheering and supporting each other,” Thompson said. “They have always had confidence in what the other is capable of doing, and they are always there to encourage and help each other.”

James said that even if they do get into typical sibling disagreements, he loves to “watch her compete and succeed.”

“My brother being on my team has made it easier because we work on the same things,” Sydney said. “He has always been there to help me if I needed it. It also challenged me because we don’t always see eye-to-eye, but we work through it.”

Thompson said that throughout their years of powerlifting, their “ultra competitiveness” did not change – even when their abilities did.

“Both of them are intense and aggressive,” coach Brian Thompson said. “They are ready to face whatever challenge is placed in front of them.”