The racing Benore brothers push each other to excel

GREENVILLE — Two of the top five runners on the state champion cross-country team from St. Joseph’s Catholic School share more than the ability to run like the wind. They share the same genes.
Identical twins Bradley and Joshua Benore finished within seconds of each other at the end of the 3.1 mile cross-country championship meet for 3-A schools in the S.C. Independent Schools Association at Heathwood Hall on Oct. 18. Josh came in second overall with a time of 17:15 minutes on a muddy course. Brad was directly behind him in third place. The top runner was Trey Parker of Wilson Hall School in Sumter.
When Josh won the Region II title the week before, Brad was nipping at his heels again. The twins not only look uncannily alike, they run in much the same manner.
“Our strides are exactly the same,” Brad said. “It’s good to have someone pushing you without competing with you.”
Like good teammates everywhere, the racing Benores help each other during competitions with pacing and drafting, and even advice. Brad will tell Josh that he is breathing too shallowly, for instance, as they pound along at the head of the pack on the overland courses where they ply their sport.
Both 16-year-old juniors claim that they are teammates, not rivals, but it wasn’t always that way.
“When the boys were ninth graders, two years ago, Brad was on the varsity and Josh ran JV. And to tell you the truth, Josh was not even that good,” said the boys’ coach George K. Carr. “But he decided to become good and they both went to RAY (Running All Year). Now they’re among the best St. Joe’s has ever produced.”
Carr said that the twins inspire each other on the cross-country courses where they compete for their school and in the open road races they run during the off-season. They also are enrolled in the same American literature class at St. Joseph’s.
“They are happy and cheerful students, a breath of fresh air in class,” said teacher Megan P. Koon, who is finally able to tell them apart after a full quarter of the academic year has finished.
Koon called the brothers witty and funny, but they are serious about their running. They intend to improve again next year, and then attend college on running scholarships the year following. Chances are, they will compete for the same university team in 2010.
Brad and Josh are the sons of Sherri and David Benore of Greenville, both recreational runners themselves.
Other members of the boys’ state championship team are Moses Burgess, Ben Longenecker and Luke Mosely. They edged out Porter-Gaud  School by two points in the 10-team championship round.
The St. Joseph’s girls cross-country team, under coach Marie Kernell, also won the 2008 state title in a runaway.  They are Emily Coggins, Kayli Henk, Dani Inglesby, Katie Lynam and Katie Sanders. Carr was named Coach of the Year. The runners joined the boys’ and girls’ swimming teams in winning state-level gold medals for the school.
The swimmers won their championships in Augusta, Ga., on Oct. 11.