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Sister vs. sister: Warinners to be on opposite sides of pitch

Warinners to be on opposite sides of pitch

Despite being loving sisters, Merideth Warinner, left, a freshman forward for Lawrence High, and Madisyn Warinner, a sophomore midfielder for Free State, say they will extend no special courtesy to the other on the field Thursday when their teams meet in the city showdown. The two are pictured Monday at LHS.

Despite being loving sisters, Merideth Warinner, left, a freshman forward for Lawrence High, and Madisyn Warinner, a sophomore midfielder for Free State, say they will extend no special courtesy to the other on the field Thursday when their teams meet in the city showdown. The two are pictured Monday at LHS.

May 12, 2009, 12:00 a.m. Updated May 12, 2009, 10:10 a.m.

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Some days, members of the Warinner family proudly wear red.

Other days they choose to suit up in green.

But most of the time, the Warinners simply wear blue in support of the Kansas University football team for which father, Ed, is the offensive coordinator.

These days, blue is the safest color for the family to wear.

That’s because the Warinners’ two daughters play soccer at rival high schools. Madisyn, a sophomore, is a forward for Free State High. Merideth, still a freshman at Southwest Junior High, has been called up to the varsity team at Lawrence High, where she plays in the Lions’ midfield.

Thursday, for the first time in their prep careers, the two will square off against each other as LHS plays host to Free State at 4 p.m. in this year’s edition of the city showdown.

It’s not the first time the two sisters have played on opposite sides of the pitch, but they haven’t been opponents long enough for the prospect of facing each other to be anything short of odd.

“I probably will notice her when I first walk out there,” Madisyn said. “And I’ll probably secretly wave to her or something like that. But once it starts, we’ll probably forget about it and focus on playing the game.”

Added Merideth, the quieter of the two who didn’t utter a word until she was 3 because Madisyn always spoke for her: “I’m not going to be less aggressive just because she’s my sister.”

Unlike the handful of other games that have pitted sister against sister, this one will come packed with the emotion and energy of a longstanding, fierce rivalry behind it. It rarely matters what the sport is or what the state of the teams; when Lawrence High and Free State get together, things can get crazy.

That’s something Madisyn and Merideth are more than aware of, even though they spent most of their childhood moving around the country as their dad changed jobs. There’s a chance, given the girls’ background, that Thursday’s showdown won’t rattle them one bit.

“Rivalries … we’re used to them,” Madisyn said.

From Army-Air Force to Kansas-Missouri or Illinois-Ohio State, these daughters of a football coach have seen plenty of heated games and all-out battles throughout the years. They’re expecting another Thursday.

From the time the girls first began playing soccer, it was clear that the world’s most popular sport would become their favorite. Madisyn netted three goals in her first game at age 4. Not to be outdone, Merideth scored 11 goals in her debut, at the tender age of 3.

“I think she had a leg up on the other kids because she had watched her sister play,” the girls’ mother, Mary Beth Warinner, said. “Soccer has been an anchoring factor for them over the years, and it’s always been a great way for them to get involved in the community and meet other kids. They’ve moved around a lot, but they’ve always had each other to play soccer with.”

Despite being called “very competitive” by their mother, the girls carry with them a sunny disposition. They smile a lot, laugh often and genuinely seem to root for each other. That won’t change Thursday just because they’re on opposite sidelines. But it might change briefly before then.

“Come Wednesday night, there might be a little tension in the house,” Madisyn said.

According to Mary Beth, there already has been some.

“There have been a few salty remarks around the house, ‘We’re gonna beat you,’ stuff like that,” said Mary Beth, who requested that the reasons the sisters play for rival high schools remain private. “But I think they’re just really excited and looking forward to it.”

Perhaps more so than mom. At most games this season, Mary Beth has been able to don the appropriate colors for the daughter she was watching. No matter what the circumstances, it has been perfectly acceptable for her to scream for the Lions one day and the Firebirds the next.

She won’t be so lucky Thursday.

“If you want to know where I’m sitting, I’m sitting in the middle,” Mary Beth said. “I’ll wear KU blue. You have to remain neutral. The parents of some of the other players have even suggested that I take a sweatshirt of each school and tear it in half and wear that.”

Comments

dougmarshall 5 years, 3 months ago

With all the controversy with other kids in the past playing for the "wrong" high school based on where they live, how can this happen? Very interesting. I'm not trying to stir the pot, just very curious.

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mom_of_three 5 years, 3 months ago

maybe they moved after the elder one started at Free State, so the younger one feeds into LHS. I know it has happened before.

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webmocker 5 years, 3 months ago

Maybe it's none of your business,

"...said Mary Beth, who requested that the reasons the sisters play for rival high schools remain private...."

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Clickker 5 years, 3 months ago

They live in the LHS district, but they are about 5 mins to FSHS, and 20 mins to LHS. This is due to typical Lawrence gerrymandering. In reality though, anyone can switch high schools. There are about 3 easy ways, and one less easy way to do it.

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Hop2It 5 years, 3 months ago

I think I remember the older girl actually playing for LHS last year as a 9th grader.... Maybe not.

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dougmarshall 5 years, 3 months ago

Thank you all for your answers, even you webmocker. It isn't my business, but I wonder why there is not outrage over this but there is and has been outrage over other athletes in the past. I do respect their privacy and I don't really care where they play. (It is soccer for crying out loud.) It just makes me wonder if they were football, volleyball players or all-state basketball players would there be more questions asked? I really enjoyed the story by the way, I think it is great to feature kids who have unique situations.

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sourpuss 5 years, 3 months ago

“…said Mary Beth, who requested that the reasons the sisters play for rival high schools remain private….”

Kinda funny there is a whole article about how they play for different schools then... but best of luck to them both.

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in123 5 years, 3 months ago

Maybe there is no outrage because there is no problem here. There is also another player that is playing for LHS this year and was on the Free State team last year as a freshman. KSHSAA allows immediate eligibility for the first time a student enters a high school (ninth grader coming from a junior high). If they transfer after that, the student is not eligible for the first 18 weeks which is not a problem for girls' soccer since it is a spring sport. You are correct that football, basketball, or volleyball could be a problem since they all start within the first 18 weeks of school. (Don't try to understand the logic of this rule!) Since the school district is approving these transfers and the rules of KSHSAA are being followed, everything is good.

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dani36921 5 years, 3 months ago

Well I go to LHS, and yes she did play for LHS her freshman year. The word at the school is that the guy she is dating goes to FSHS and that is why she got a transfer, that is the reasoning in keeping it private as well because apparently it seems a little weird =)

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