'Twins' have Falcons seeing double Campbell, Gately mirror images on and off field


During her sophomore year at Severna Park, a friend promised Tressa Campbell he would record her every move on tape during a lacrosse game.

"I got it all," he announced proudly afterward.

What he got was not Campbell, but Colleen Gately. Though he knew both girls, he mistook Campbell for Gately in what has become a common occurrence.

"Tressa has a gallery of photos on her bedroom wall," said her mother, Kay. "If I look quickly, especially at the ones on the beach, I can't always tell which is Tressa and which is Colleen."

The similarities are striking -- same size, blond pony tail. They often share clothes, making it difficult from the back for Kay Campbell to tell them apart.

"People are always asking if we're twins," Tressa said.

Among the similarities:

Both are student government representatives and National Honor Society members. Both were in the school musical. They have the same friends. Both play lacrosse.

And both are senior scoring leaders on the Severna Park field hockey team, which is ranked No. 1 in The Baltimore Sun poll.

"They set team standards," said coach Lil Shelton. "Just by being in the game, they bring up the level of play. I try to have at least one of them in at all times unless we're way ahead."

Kay Campbell notes that Tressa and Colleen "always try to model a positive attitude" and to conceal discouragement from the younger players by venting it only in private.

Campbell and Gately met as Severna Park freshmen and have been inseparable ever since. Sensing immediately that they had much in common, they gravitated to each other.

"They knew in the first minute they'd be good friends," said Gately's mother, Sherry. "Tressa is almost like a permanent fixture at our dinner table."

Tressa will respond to someone's call for Colleen, unless, she says with a smile, it's a critical remark.

"If Colleen does well, a coach might say to her, 'Good job, Tressa,' " Campbell said. "But if someone says to her, 'C'mon, Tressa, get your act together,' I speak up: 'No, no, that wasn't Tressa, it was Colleen.' "

Before last year's Arundel game, Campbell and Gately began a practice that has become a ritual. After the team cheer, they walked to their positions and "visualized."

"We got close to each other and fixed in our minds what we wanted to happen," Campbell said. "I said, 'I'm going to take it up the side, pass to you and then you deflect it in.' When you picture something -- visualize it -- it helps and sometimes it happens."

Two minutes into that Arundel game, Gately scored on a pass from Campbell exactly as they had visualized it. They have visualized before every game since.

"It's weird the way we're always right next to each other," Gately said. "I know where she'll be. I don't even have to look up."

Halfway through their third varsity season, Campbell and Gately have experienced defeat only twice in field hockey.

Severna Park was 15-1 in 1991, losing to Westminster in the state championship game, and 15-1 again last year, dropping its final regular-season game in overtime to Queen Anne's. The Falcons went on to win the state title, knocking off Queen Anne's in the regional playoffs in the process.

"We learned a lot when we lost to Queen Anne's," Gately said. "It showed we weren't unbeatable and made us work harder. It got us psyched for the playoffs."

Said Campbell, recalling how Severna Park stormed through four playoff games en route to its sixth state championship: "You remember the losses."

"The Queen Anne's game brought us back to reality. I'll always remember it. We don't want it ever to happen again," she said.

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