LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The bond between multiples -- twins, triplets and on up -- is a relationship unlike any other. There’s always somebody around to play with, and to fight with, too. Birthdays are shared. Multiples can be as different in appearance and personality as night and day, or they can be virtually indistinguishable.
Kaitlyn and Kourtney Wolters are identical twins on the Grand Valley State volleyball team. They’ve been together their entire lives, with the exception of a single year when Kourtney went to a different college.“There’s a different bond between twin sisters,” Kaitlyn said. “I know I can always count on her and go to her for anything, and that she’ll be there for me.
“I guess we have that relationship where you could say we’re pretty reliant on each other. I don’t really know anything different. I always know that I have someone there for me at all times.”
According to Kourtney, rarely was there teenaged angst in their home. They also have a younger brother, Jason.
“We’re actually not like most teenaged girls,” Kourtney said. “A lot of teenage girls fight. You can imagine two girls in the same house being in fights. I don’t think we fought, maybe a slammed door because we did something bad.
“But then like two minutes later, we’d be like, ‘Okay, I’m bored. It’s fine. You’re forgiven.’ I can only remember that happening once or twice. We have, actually, a really good relationship. We clicked right from the womb, I guess you could say.”
Kaitlyn and Kourtney have always seen their resemblance to one another as an advantage -- they once tried swapping classes back in the first grade, but it didn’t quite work out -- and both are obviously elite student-athletes to make it to this level of competition in collegiate volleyball. That, however, is just about where their similarities end.
They’re different in personality. Kourtney plans to teach elementary school, Kaitlyn is headed toward the medical field. Kaitlyn is more science oriented, and Kourtney is a math and English whiz.
“There’s not much except volleyball where we are the same,” Kaitlyn admitted. “I’m the calm one. She’s more of the energetic, bubbly one. I go more with the flow.”
Still, that bond remains. Only once has it been tested to any great extent. The sisters went all the way through elementary and high school together, then to two years of community college. Yet when it came time to transfer to a four-year school, Kaitlyn headed to Grand Valley State and Kourtney to Western Michigan.
The first month or so apart, they talked around twice a day. They were nearly 45 miles apart, rather than just a door down the hallway. The separation lasted just a year, and it was volleyball as much as their personal relationship that brought Kourtney to Grand Valley State as well.
“After community college ended, I was like, ‘You know what? I think I’m done with volleyball. I think I need to move on and focus on my studies more,’ ” Kourtney recalled. “I went to Western and realized that I just could not give up volleyball quite yet. There’s still some fight and competitive edge left in me.”
Kourtney went to Grand Valley State head volleyball coach Deanne Scanlon to see what she could work out. If it happened, it would happen. If it didn’t, at least she tried.
“[Scanlon] knew Kate’s work ethic on the court,” Kourtney said. “It helped that Kate was there, and it was a bonus for me, because I would always have my best friend on the court. Even when I’m having a bad day on the court and I mess up, she’s always there to say, ‘Hey, you’ve got this. You’re fine. Just shake it off.’ I do the same thing with her.
“It’s really nice that we can finish off both of our senior careers off, hopefully, with a national championship. I’m just loving the road that I’m on, given a second chance to be with Kate again on the court and off the court. It’s just a great experience.”