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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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These twins win: On and off field, Sturgill sisters provide support

Kaden Moubayed
Twin sisters Haley Sturgill and Stella Sturgill have played soccer together on the same team for almost their whole lives. They are seen by their teammates as leaders for their commitment to the sport. Next year they will play soccer at the collegiate level, but on different teams for the first time.

The field. The team. Each other.

Sisters Stella Sturgill and Haley Sturgill have always played sports. Soccer was the one that stuck. In lower school they both played on a club team, Southside Fire, in which they learned two important things: the game is nothing without the team, and being twins playing the same sport isn’t so bad.

Even though they’ve always played sports, Haley and Stella always felt like opposites: Stella played offense and Haley played defense; Stella is right-footed and Haley is left-footed. Because the twins have different strengths, they are able to lean on each other.

“I’ve loved it,” Stella said. “We are very different people and have very different playing styles. When I was asked to play defense for the first time, I really leaned on Haley. It was hard to go into a new season with a new position, but Haley helped me in a lot of ways.”

Soccer is a mental sport in many ways. It’s easy to spiral after a few minor mistakes, and it can be difficult to regain composure. Both sisters, now seniors, are each other’s biggest critics, but they know each other the best.

“It’s really helpful to have your family on the field,” Haley said. “If one of us gets really in our head about a mistake and we’re hyper focusing, it’s not good for anyone. Having someone that knows you well and can tell if the other is off of their game, can be helpful.

Both Stella and Haley were grateful to come back to soccer after being isolated from friends for a year and a half during pandemic distance learning. Even before in-person classes were consistent, the twins came to soccer practice. They appreciated having a community and feeling a part of something bigger in an isolating time.

“Both Haley and I struggled a lot during the pandemic,” Stella said. “Being able to come back, reintroduced not only a love for the sport, but for the Lab team and that team culture in general.”

Even when Haley fell out of love for the sport during the pandemic years, she always loved the team. Haley believes Lab team sports made her high school experience much better.

“I love team sports as a concept,” Haley said. “All of the team sports I’ve played throughout high school have just been such lovely experiences. It’s made my high school experience so much more rich and meaningful.”

Junior Alex Giles is a striker on the team. She really appreciates the positive energy the twins bring to the team.

“They encourage me to not give up,” Alex said. “They keep me on track and are such positive people. When I’m down or doing something wrong they’re so encouraging.”

David Vadeboncoeur, assistant girls soccer coach, has coached both girls for four seasons, watching both of them grow tremendously as players and as people.

“For them as siblings, growing up together and also having football, a game they both enjoy is really beautiful to see,” Mr. Vadeboncoeur said.

Junior Lucy Aronsohn has played with Stella and Haley on the U-High team for three seasons. They also play on the same club team, TST. One of her favorite memories is joking around with them in the car but above all, they want the team to do its best.

“They want the whole team to succeed,” Lucy said. “They know it’s bigger than just themselves. They think it’s important to instill confidence in the team, especially the freshman who have just joined.”

Haley feels like she relies on natural ability to perform at a high level. Having Stella by her side conditioning at the gym or working on drills on Jackman Field has taught Haley the importance of hard work.

“Stella is probably one of the most ambitious people I know,” Haley said. “She has really grown as a player. From freshman to senior year she is not even remotely the same player. Stella has always had to work for what she was given.”

Stella and Haley being so different meant that it was hard to compare the two. Even when Stella started playing soccer, there was never a toxic competition or means for comparison. It was always a collaboration.

“We spend a lot of time together,” Haley said. “We share some of the same hobbies like going to the gym and soccer. We’ve never spent more than a week away from each other. Stella is my other half.”

Next year when both girls will continue to play soccer in college — Stella for Sarah Lawrence College and Haley for Carleton College — will be the first time they are truly apart.

“When I knew I wanted to play soccer in college is when I started playing on the Lab team,” Stella said. “It’s very familial, and because we have a tight bond, it made me want to become a better player.”

Even though Stella and Haley won’t be together, they carry the memories, importance of team bonding and dedication with them as they continue the sport at the next level.

Stella said, “Once a teammate, always a teammate.”

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About the Contributors
Victoria Washington
Victoria Washington, Opinion Editor
Victoria Washington is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as the Opinion Editor. She joined the journalism team in fall 2021 during her ninth grade year. Her favorite story she's written for the U-High Midway is “Artist raises $2,000 to restore Bronzeville mural.” She enjoys journalism because it provides an opportunity to communicate with others from different departments and see new perspectives. Aside from journalism, she enjoys historical fashion and watching documentaries. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, commentary writing 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, news writing
Kaden Moubayed
Kaden Moubayed, Photographer
Kaden Moubayed is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as an editor-in-chief for photojournalism. He joined the staff in the 2022-23 school year. His favorite part of photojournalism is taking pictures of sports events. Outside of photojournalism, Kaden is a competitive soccer player and enjoys spending time with friends and family. Awards: 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Second place, single spot news photograph, “2023 Graduation” (Photo 11: Jason & Sydney Tyler embrace) 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Certificate of merit (with William Tan, Patrice Graham, Gabriel Issa, Matthew McGehee, Matt Petres), photo story, "Photo Gallery: Raw reactions" 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, photography portfolio 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Superior, first-year photo

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