Twin sisters, Carley and Caitlyn O’Neal are junior transfer students who both play basketball for Goshen College. Carley is an exercise science major, while Caitlyn is an art major with a minor in marketing.Carley and Caitlyn had initially visited Goshen as juniors in high school for softball. While visiting, Stephanie Miller, head coach, heard that they also played basketball and met with them. They’ve kept in touch ever since.
“We really hit it off,” said Carley. “She was the very first collegiate coach to be interested in us as a ‘package’ for basketball. And that relationship held a special place in our hearts.”
When it came time to choose a college, the twins decided to go to Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia. Over the next two years, Carley and Caitlyn still kept in touch with Miller. The twins are from Indiana, and they found that being so far from home was difficult.
“We decided we were not happy at our last school and wanted to transfer closer to home,” Carley said. “Simultaneously, Coach Miller was in need of two guards. It was as if it was in God’s plan to lead us here.”
After filling out the paperwork, Carley and Caitlyn transferred to GC. The sisters enjoy playing on the basketball team together; they have been teammates since they began sports as children.
“Playing on the same team as my sister is a lot of fun,” Carley said. “It is as easy as breathing for me. We are so accustomed to how the other plays that it’s just so natural when we are on the court together.”
Miller has also enjoyed working with the twins as basketball players.
“Carley and Caitlyn are a pleasure to work with both on and off the court,” said Miller. “Both of them are character kids who have a great desire to be successful and make others around them successful as well.”
Caitlyn feels that playing basketball with Carley makes the game more meaningful to her. “I honestly do not think I would be as competitive, hardworking, or just as skilled as I am if it wasn’t for playing basketball with my sister,” Caitlyn said.
As far as appearances, the twins feel that they look similar but also very different. For instance, while they both have red hair, Caitlyn’s hair is shorter.
“We can understand if other people cannot tell us apart, however, people that know us really well should know us, and if they don’t, shame on them,” said Caitlyn.
She also noted that their personalities are different. Caitlyn is more extraverted, while Carley is more reserved.
Miller also had trouble telling them apart at the beginning but has figured out which twin is which after getting to know them.
“Mostly I just recognize them immediately by their different personalities,” said Miller. “They don’t often get recognized for the very different and amazing young women they are as individuals.”
Being twins has created a very special bond for the two. Caitlyn called having a twin “a blessing.” However, both women agreed that the hardest part of being twins is not having separate identities.
“I have never known what it is like to be just ‘Carley O’Neal,’ people know me as an ‘O’Neal twin,’” said Carley.
“I will never be known as an individual,” Caitlyn said. “I will always be remembered as a twin or as a package. Honestly, being thought of as a package is not that bad because I would rather be a twin than not be one at all.”
Carley said she couldn’t imagine being who she is without her sister. Automatically having a companion through everything life throws at her has been really special.
“I guess you could say the pros outweigh the cons of being a twin,” said Carley.
“This sounds cheesy, but it is the truth – she completes me. We have been through literally everything together,” said Caitlyn. “We can look at each other in certain situations and not say anything out loud but understand what each of us is thinking just by looking at each other.”
The twins are also able to finish each other’s sentences and sing a song out loud that the other was thinking of, said Caitlyn.
“She is the most influential person in my life,” said Caitlyn. “It is hard to say how amazing being a twin sister is through words.”