Seeing double: Ganz twins sprinting toward state for Lincoln track and field
Enrico Ganz won the first ever race between himself and his brother Antony. Except he doesn't remember winning it.
That's because it was the race out of their mother's womb.
While that race was more of a distance run — or at least it was for their mother — the twins have become some of Oregon's best high school sprinters some 18 years later at Lincoln High.
The twins have turned their attention to taking down the rest of the state in hopes for a state title or two, either individually or in their relay teams.
But neither one needs to look far for motivation when they have their brother literally running right by their side, pushing them to be faster.
"We push each other a lot in our competitions, he's got the better 100, I have the better 400 and the 200 we kind of meet in the middle," Enrico said. "Just being next to him coming around a curve really gets me to try and kick it faster and beat him."
Heading into the PIL district tournament Tuesday, May 10 to Thursday, May 12 at McDaniel High School, Enrico's recollection of times is accurate.
Antony's 10.89 seconds time in the 100 sits in sixth in 6A while Enrico's 11.08 time is tied for eighth. In the 200, the two are separated by .01 seconds, Enrico clocking in at 22.34 and Antony at 22.35, which puts them in seventh and eighth.
Enrico has a 49.99 time in the 400 for the eighth best mark in the state, but is only .57 seconds off of the top mark.
"There's one thing I can always count on, and that's having someone to compete against," Antony said. "Sometimes we can get on each other's nerves, mess around. But most of the time we're really pushing each other and that definitely helps."
The Ganz twins started running track in fourth grade, adding to the list of things they compete with each other in. Whether it's school work or anything else, the two are always looking for a little friendly competition.
That push over the years has led to a bit of an unexpected breakout season to put them at the top of the state.
Thanks to COVID canceling the normal high school season the past two years, the Ganz brothers became a little bit of an unknown in their sophomore and junior years.
With dedication over the summer and in the winter months, both brothers have leaped to the top of leaderboards.
"When you look at them as freshmen and you look back at how they stacked up against other freshmen in state, there was a little bit of an idea that this could be the case by the time they became seniors," Lincoln head coach Eric Dettman said. "They've put in the work over the last four years and they deserve all the accolades they've gotten up to this point."
Dettman knows plenty about what it takes to become a next-level runner.
And he also knows what it's like to do it with a twin brother by his side.
Growing up in Chicago, Dettman and his brother ran long distance and eventually came out to Eugene to run at Oregon collegiately. Dettman eventually landed the job at Lincoln and has coached there the past nine years.
Getting a front row seat to a life experience that he had when growing up halfway across the country has been an interesting sight to see.
"I was a distance runner and they are sprinters, but the bond between those two and the friendship between those two is so reminiscent of what my brother and I had," Dettman said. "It's cool to see how they've developed and developed into their own people, which are these two amazing young men. And at the same time be really fantastic leaders for our team."
Speaking of leading the team, the Ganz brothers have helped the Lincoln 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams to the top of the 6A charts as well.
Along with Emmett Togni and Chase Kochis, the Cardinals have the third fastest 4x100 time in 43.02. On the 4x400 squad, Lincoln sits second with help from Aiden Smith and Finn Chamberlain in a time of 3:26.72, which landed them first at the Nike/Jesuit Twilight Relays.
The sprinters aren't alone as Smith sits fifth in 6A in the 1500 with a time of 3:50.46 and is third in the 3000 with an 8:14.56 time.
The girls side also has plenty of top 10 representation, highlighted by Nicole Prall's top leap in the pole vault of 12'6.
The Cardinals have done it all without a home track thanks to the construction wrapping up at the new Lincoln building. They'll still be without one for another year, but having this kind of season overall, having to go to practice later in the day and at schools around the city, Dettman is impressed.
"That's part of what makes this group so special, we're doing all of this, we're finding all this success: we don't have a facility," Dettman said. "Our kids show up and they want to be part of something that's bigger than them."
For the Ganz brothers, the next couple of weeks will be one of the last times they'll compete together potentially ever.
After high school, the twins are going their separate ways. Antony is off to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Enrico is heading to the University of Rochester in New York.
But before that happens, there are plenty of goals still left to accomplish come state May 19-21 down at Hayward Field in Eugene.
"I'm looking to get a victory in the 400 meter, place in all the events I do," Enrico said of his state goals. "That's how I expect to close this year."
"We definitely want to win that 4x100, I want to be top five in the 100 and I think (Enrico) could win the 400," Antony added. "You rewind a couple years ago, we couldn't have even dreamed of getting a state title. And now, here we are."
Of course, the two are likely to have one another breathing down their necks. Enrico said he's got some tricks to get into his "little" brother's head come race time, just depends on the day of what mind games will work.
So while Enrico might have won the first race and has the mind tricks, there are plenty of races ahead for the Lincoln stars over the course of their young careers.
No matter how far they go though, they'll always know they have their brother driving to be a split second faster.
Even if it's 2,800 miles away.
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