Hudson Valley Athletics: Field of genes

Sam Kobylar

Staff Writer

It is not very often where a sports team includes a set of twin brothers on the same team. However, three Hudson Valley sports teams each have a set of twin brothers on it that have made major contributions to their teams.

Sean and Steven Jennings

Sean and Steven Jennings, are both offensive linemen for the Vikings, and play right next to each other. Sean is 6’ 4”, 252 lbs while Steven is 6’ 5”, 280 lbs. Both Steven and Sean are currently studying Physical Education at Hudson Valley.

“They have played together for a long time and them being right next to each other on the offensive line I think it gives us an advantage,” said head football coach Mike Muehling.

The brothers both started playing at some point in elementary school, growing up in Lincolndale, Westchester County. During their senior years at Somers High School, the Jennings brothers helped give Somers a high school sectional championship for the first time in 12 years. “Changing the culture of our program and turning it around is my best [football] experience,” said Steven.

Both of these big men play on the offensive line, which requires being very physical at times and being a very hard competitor. That is why they love to play football.

“The year before [11th grade], we didn’t have such a great year, so I guess that offseason we were recommitted to turning the program around and having a great year. When we had a lot of success our senior year, that was a great feeling that all of our hard work paid off,” said Sean.

Growing up as twin athletes, the Jennings brothers worked hard together to make sure that they could each be as great as they possibly could. Now, both Jennings are equally quality players. “There has always been a little bit of competitive of who is the better brother,” said Steven.

Sean said, “We have always been competitive. Our parents always treated us equal though, they were always like, ‘You guys are the same.’ Every day we are out here running sprints out here in practice and we would race each other and we will always talk after games about who did this and who did that, good or bad.”

Juan and Jonathan Mejicano

“We just keep pushing each other and if one of us is slacking, we make sure that we tell him to pick it up,” said Juan Mejicano on growing up playing soccer with his twin brother Jonathan.

The two freshmen from Cairo-Durham High School in Cairo have been huge for head soccer coach Travis Cooke’s squad this season. “There is already a lot of interest from 4 year schools so they are going to have a great college career.” said Cooke on the Mejicano brothers.

Both brothers have at least 10 points this season. Juan has 8 goals and 1 assist which gives him 17 total points on the season while Jonathan has 5 goals and 0 assists which gives him 10 total points for the season.

The Mejicanos didn’t start playing soccer until eighth grade. “Coming from Long Island, everybody was just playing soccer there,” said Juan. “We didn’t start playing until like eighth grade, then we moved and continued playing soccer,” he added.

Since both of the twins didn’t start playing soccer until a later age, the Mejicanos don’t have as many soccer memories to look back on. In fact, their favorite soccer memories came this season while playing soccer for Hudson Valley. “This year I scored a game winner against Adirondack. I think that was the highlight of my soccer career,” said Juan.

Jonathan said, “I would say our 2-1 win against Onondaga our last game just because we were down 1-0 to begin with, and the team just came together and we just fixed up our flaws in the second half and we just came out with a great win.”

The Mejicano twins not only love to play the game, but they also love to watch soccer. Juan and Jonathan both watch soccer but root for different teams and players.

Darren and Dustin Conte

The Conte twins are starting their second year at Hudson Valley after they each had productive seasons last year for the Vikings baseball team. Darren is a second baseman and a pitcher for the Vikings while Dustin is a catcher.

The brothers are from Hudson and attended Hudson High School, which is just a little less than an hour from Hudson Valley. Both are studying business administration in their second year.

“It is still up in the air a little bit. We are starting to decide where we are going. Had a couple schools in mind, not really sure yet,” said Dustin.

These two have the potential to go to a good 4 year school after this year as each brother had a productive season on the diamond last year and look to build on that this spring. Darren batted .489 last season in 90 at bats with 2 home runs, 37 RBIs, an OBP of .546, and a slugging percentage of .633.

Not only was Darren an asset for Hudson Valley baseball at the plate last season, but he was also very productive when he got the call to the mound. In the 7 games he pitched for the Vikings last year, Darren went 2-0 with 1 save, 16 strikeouts, 8 walks and a 0.59 ERA.

Dustin was also a huge asset for Hudson Valley last year behind the plate as he was good defensively behind the plate. Compared to his brother, Darren, Dustin didn’t get as much playing time last year as Dustin only had 24 at bats last season and batted .167 with 0 home runs and 4 RBIs and a .310 OBP.

Growing up as twin brothers, both Darren and Dustin followed the same baseball teams and baseball players. For example, both brothers are fans of the New York Yankees and their favorite players to watch are Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera.

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