Eickelmans living up to ‘student-athlete’ title

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By Alissa Noe

For the first two minutes of his life, Drew Eickelman had it easy. Then his brother Jake was born, and the two have been battling each other ever since.

“We were always super competitive,” Drew said. “Even when it comes to video games and stuff like that, we always fight.”

For the past 18 years, the Dakota Ridge twins have used their sibling rivalry to push themselves not just in athletics but in academics as well.

“They’ve been competing with each other since they could, since the day they’ve been born, since they could crawl and walk and do everything else,” their mother Shea joked.

Over the past four years at Dakota Ridge High School, that rivalry-laden spirit has driven the Eickelman brothers to success on the ice, court, field and track. While they’ve excelled in varsity hockey and lacrosse throughout their entire high school careers, they decided to “try out” soccer last year.

After all, they enjoyed playing their FIFA video game so much. How hard could the real thing be? Apparently not too hard — at least not for them. They made varsity.

This spring, during lacrosse season, they’ll also participate on the track team.

Throughout their entire lives, Drew and Jake have always played together, no matter what team or sport. They’ve helped push each other to higher standards, often fielding opposite positions.

“Sometimes I want to pull my hair out, but sometimes it’s just the best thing,” Jake said. “I have someone I can look at and lean on, and hopefully he can lean on me. Overall, it’s kind of like having a best friend and an enemy at the same time.

“It’s a beautiful thing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Outside of their rampant athletic prowess, the twins also excel academically, earning 3.8 GPAs. They’ve participated in the school’s leadership council — in which they team up with other schools and discuss how to be better leaders — and take a trip to the Children’s Hospital every year to do arts and crafts with the kids.

As part of the MOD (Men of Dakota) Squad, they help the underclassmen get around the school and feel at home. As “super fans,” they try to attend any games they’re not playing in to cheer on their fellow Eagles.

“We like to do everything we can,” Drew said. “I’ve always loved being busy. I know a lot of kids won’t say it, but I like school also.”

Next year, the Eickelman brothers will be headed to Colorado Mesa University to play Division II lacrosse. On top of going into their inaugural college season with “a chip on (their) shoulders,” they hope to continue the success of their high school days, something they hope eventually carries them into medical school.

They’ll take on that challenge together, of course.