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Sticking together

The Baltimore Sun

When Dulaney's Kate and Kristen Horsman began considering their college options, they also started thinking about personal options.

All their lives, the twins had done just about everything together. They were best friends with the same interests and the same social circle.

Even with college, they wanted the same things - to play lacrosse and to study nursing.

But maybe college was the time to go their separate ways.

"In the beginning, I was really strong about us separating," Kristen said, "because I wanted to have my own identity. We've always been known as the twins or the Horsman twins. It's never Kristen and Kate. I wanted to go to college and have that new experience with me not being a twin and me just being my own person."

However on a trip to Notre Dame last year with their Skywalkers club team, the Horsmans heard another twin talk about going through exactly what they planned to do.

Irish lacrosse player Shannon Burke, a Roland Park graduate, talked to the group about her adjustment to college and what it was like to be without her twin sister for the first time. K.C. Burke, a rower who went to St. Paul's, enrolled at Southern Methodist in Dallas, 840 miles from South Bend, Ind.

"She talked about how much she missed her twin and how the first couple months were so hard, total separation anxiety," Kristen said. "It's already a struggle to try to adapt to college for the first couple months, anyway, and if I didn't have [Kate] there with me, I knew I would completely not be able to handle it."

Kate felt the same way.

"When we were visiting colleges, I couldn't see myself living [on campus] without her. I feel like we probably should have separated just because we're not going to be together our whole lives, but I wanted to share this experience with her.

So "Kate" and "Kristen" will have to wait. They've signed on for five more years as the Horsman twins at Boston College.

They will room separately, and their roommates won't notice the similarities right away, because the fraternal twins don't look alike.

Beyond their looks, even their mother has a tough time citing differences.

"They're not really all that different," Paige Horsman said. "Kaitlyn is more outgoing. Kristen's definitely more shy. I've seen it go both ways, but Kate has a tendency to step out of the box. Kristen will stay in the box. That's about it."

On the lacrosse field, however, differences emerge. Both are skilled midfielders for the No. 3 Lions (6-0), but Kate is more attack-oriented while Kristen is more defense-oriented.

Still, they have an obvious connection on the field.

"They just have this ability to know where each other is in transition and on attack, when Kate does a really good job of feeding Kristen," Dulaney senior Hope McIntyre said. "The timing on their cuts is impeccable. I don't know how they do it."

The twins, who also play field hockey for the Lions, aren't sure whether their on-field connection is an innate "twin thing" or whether it comes from playing sports together since they were 5.

"People do say they can see how we've been playing together," Kate said. "They think we have an innate twin connection because we always know where each other is going to be. They said that in basketball because we didn't even have to look to pass the ball."

Their mother, who played three sports at Loch Raven, saw their athleticism from the time they learned to ride bicycles.

"Training wheels were like a week," Paige Horsman said. "They just had coordination. They had all of it. I had a feeling they would be pretty strong athletes."

After helping the Lions win their second straight Class 4A-3A state girls lacrosse title last spring, both were first-team All-Baltimore County picks and Kristen was a first-team All-Metro selection.

Athletically, the twins found exactly what they wanted at Boston College, a program that hasn't ranked among the nation's top Division I programs, but one in which they see potential.

That's something they know a little about.

"We said to [coach Bowen Holden] how Boston College is so appealing, because going to Dulaney, my freshman year, we just weren't a very strong team at all," Kristen said. "I think that's been the most rewarding experience, not necessarily winning the state championship, but knowing that we did it for the first time and the second time. We've made an impact on Dulaney history."

Although lacrosse played into their college decision, Boston College's nursing school was the clincher.

Kate, who has a 3.98 grade point average, has always wanted to be a nurse and work with babies. Kristen, who has a 4.0 GPA, always wanted to be a doctor but decided it took too much schooling. After five years in the BC nursing program, they'll have master's degrees.

With all the anxiety of the college recruitment process over, the Horsmans will concentrate on finishing their high school careers strong - on acing their Advanced Placement courses and trying to help the Lions win a third straight state crown.

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