Throughout Puyallup High’s girls cross country season, there was familiar sight at the finish line of each race. It’s a tradition built on sweat and blood.
For the second consecutive year, Rachel Kastama has been Puyallup’s No. 1 runner for the girls. She has the natural talents of a sprinter, which has propelled her to the state meet for the past two years.
But after every race, there’s a routine Rachel has — it’s more of an obligation by blood to that keeps this tradition going. After every race, Rachel waits.
“I usually catch my breath and stay by the finish line (to wait), because I want to know how she did,” Rachel said, referring to twin sister Sarah. “(But) if I didn’t, she’d let me know after.”
“I’d just stare at her like,” said Sarah, while giving a squinted, crooked-eye glare in demonstration.
It’s a sisterly bond these two have, and as twins, it runs much deeper than most.
“When Sarah came in, she rushed to me and fell to her knees,” Rachel recalled as Sarah crossed the finish line at the district meet. “I picked her up and got her to the tent.”
As identical twins, it’s hard to tell the two Kastama sisters apart. Rachel, with her hair usually back in a ponytail, and Sarah, with her hair flowing, are usually hard to distinguish.
But that’s where the similarities begin to differentiate.
As Rachel has excelled as a runner, Sarah has shined in the classroom. Siblings don’t always have the same interests, even if they are as close as these two.
“She’s more of the runner — she’s more competitive about running than I am,” Sarah said. “I run more for fun.”
Sarah’s interests and talents lie in other realms such as art and music.
“I have a talent in art and music,” Sarah quipped. “She (Rachel) has a talent with art, yes, but with music, no.”
“I don’t do music,” Rachel said with a laugh. “But with building stuff, yes.”
It’s different talents that drive both Kastama sisters to be successful in whatever they’ve put their focus on. But it’s a familiar bond that makes their journey together special.
Vikings in Pasco
Rachel was the lone representative for Puyallup’s girls cross country team to make state, but she was joined by sophomore Colin Monaghan and freshman Daniel Averill on the boys side.
Rachel finished in 14th place with a time of 18 minutes, 32.2 seconds. She beat her previous state time (19:22.67 in 2014) by 50 seconds.
“This year, I felt like I did really, really well,” Rachel said of her new personal best. “I worked really hard to get to that point … when I got to the starting line, I was like, ‘I’m going to beat my time — I’m going to do it,’ and I did.”
And as Rachel set a new personal best at state, there was Sarah cheering her along the way.
“I was her water girl at state,” Rachel joked. “I made sure she stayed hydrated and just really cheered her on the whole time.”
Monaghan finished in 88th place (16:39.6) and Averill finished in 58th place (16:18.8).