The Brooks siblings came from Frankfort, Michigan, to Albion to stay connected.
Connected to what depends on which sibling you ask.
For Zane, a senior accounting major, some of Albion’s draw was its new college-city collaboration.
“What initially drew me in to Albion was the excitement surrounding where the college and the community were going, and the growing connection between the two,” he said. “I felt like I was going to be a part of something that was going to change a lot over four years.”
Zane’s first-year sister, Peyton, came to Albion because of its small, close-knit feel.
“People assumed I was going to Albion just because Zane went here.” she said. “ But I came from a very small school, and I felt the size of the campus and community was small enough that I could stay connected with others and feel secure.”
Now, Zane and Peyton are creating new connections as adults attending the same college and running for the same cross country and track and field programs.
Although they grew up in the same Northern Michigan town of Frankfort, they didn’t attend the same high school. Zane attended Benzie Central High School while Peyton attended Frankfort High School.
Because of this, the Fall 2018 Albion cross country season was the first time the two found themselves together on the same team. Coaching siblings at Albion was also a first for head cross country and middle distance/distance track coach Derick Lawrence.
The Family Dynamic
Being on the same team took some adjusting on the Brooks’ parts.
“It was a little weird at first seeing [my] sister at practice, but I enjoy it,” said Zane. “She definitely holds me accountable.”
Peyton experienced a similar effect.
“The best part [about attending the same school as Zane] is it keeps me true to myself,” Peyton said. “Zane will call me out if I’m acting out of character.”
For instance, this past fall, Peyton was running a workout on the track. It was her first workout after coming back from an injury. She thought she felt great. Zane pulled her off the track in the middle of the workout, telling her that her form looked out of sorts and that she looked like she was in pain. He recommended she cut the workout short to not further aggravate the injury.
“I needed to hear that,” Peyton said. “At the time I didn’t want to hear it, but I needed to hear it.”
Zane said that Peyton likes to return the favor.
“We’re even closer than we were in high school. We’re more honest and open with each other,” he said. He smiled, then added, “You’re never too old to get called out on something, which I think has been a humbling thing.”
The Brooks siblings keep each other true to themselves. In the process, they’ve realized that they are both goal-oriented people. Lawrence, has picked up on this, too.
“They both have a great desire to succeed, not only in running but in everything they get involved in,” he wrote via email. “They both structure their days in a way where they can maximize their talent and place an emphasis on doing the little things that can help them achieve big results.”
What those “big results” are, though, has changed over the years, especially for Zane
“When I was a freshman, my idea of fulfillment in running was results-based,” he said. “Now, the fulfillment comes from knowing I’ve stayed committed to something for four years and supporting my teammates.”
In college, an environment that threatens to disrupt routines of all sorts, the Brooks find the routine of cross country and track practices to be a welcome consistency in their otherwise busy lives. Zane is a member of the Gerstacker Institute, Delta Tau Delta fraternity and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. Peyton is a member of the Wilson Institute and Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and she intends to major in biology.
Amidst all this, they still find time to run. One of the things the Brooks have come to understand is they run competitively for some of the same reasons, one of those reasons being physical enjoyment.
“Runner’s high is a real thing,” Peyton said. “After I run, I’m in a better mood.”
Zane echoed Peyton’s thoughts, saying, “Everybody has their vice. My vice happens to be running.”