In the Locker Room With the Coombs and the Ursos


Simeon Deutsch

Lola Coombs (top left), Garret Coombs, Joshua Urso and Sarah Urso

Nate Levinson, Sports Editor

This week, the Review sat down with two sets of siblings on the cross country team, senior Lola Coombs and sophomore Garret Coombs and junior Joshua Urso and first-year Sarah Urso to discuss cross country routes, their competitiveness and how much they hang out at Oberlin.

Is it weird going to school with your sibling?

Sarah Urso: Not really, because we’ve been through high school together, and we’ve been through so many schools together that it just seems like a continuation of that.

Garret Coombs: I say no.

Lola Coombs: I would say it’s not weird; it’s a good time. Garret and I didn’t go to high school together, so it’s like being reunited from middle school days.

Joshua Urso: Generally it’s not that weird, but at times it can be because I’ve been here for two years, so it’s kind of different bumping into my sister. [She’s] intruding on my college experience. [Laughs.] She’ll tell our mom something and then I’ll go to tell her that and she’ll already know.

Did you always think you’d end up at school together?

LC: I mean, it was Garret’s decision because he was the younger one. He followed me here. [Laughs.] I didn’t have any say in it.

How long have you been running cross country? Do your parents run or did they used to run competitively?

SU: I’ve been doing cross country since seventh grade, so a long time. Our mom runs just for physical exercise.

GC: Our parents run for fun, and I think we both started freshman year of high school.

JU: I started running cross country junior year of high school. I always did track, though. Our parents never really ran other than just to stay in shape, but since I started getting more into it in college, my dad started getting into it and trains for half-marathons now. A lot of the time during my runs over the summer he’ll actually run with me or Sarah.

How competitive were you with each other growing up?

SU: I don’t think Josh and I were really competitive as far as running goes, because he’s a boy and I’m a girl, so obviously he’s going to be faster no matter what. The only thing competitive I think would be board games.

JU: Board games get really intense.

GC: I feel like I was more competitive with [Lola] than she was with me.

LC: It was more in Garret’s mind. I didn’t care as much.

How has your relationship changed since you’ve been at school together?

LC: I would say our relationship has gotten closer. We’re better friends now because we’re teammates and we had a class together last year, so I’d see him there.

JU: I would say it has changed a little bit; we’ve become closer, but it hasn’t been that long since she’s been here.

Is there anything you do other than run to stay in shape?

SU: Even in season, besides running, we do strength circuits.

GC: Sometimes we snowboard together.

LC: Running is like the only form of exercise I really do, which is probably bad. I guess I just live to run.

JU: Over the summer, I play pickup games of soccer and things like that. Whenever I’m not in season for cross country, I’ll do a little bit of lifting to prepare for track.

Do you run the exact same route around campus every day during practice?

SU: A lot of our routes start out the same, but then they diverge off the further you go. We have really weird names for all of them. Some have a different variety of corn fields.

LC: They all kind of start out on College or Lorain. I like the Alpaca Six and I hate Southern Seven. Sometimes to make it fun, we’ll do a loop in the cemetery or jump in the Arb.

JU: Southern Seven is my favorite. It’s just sheltered from the wind way more than any of the northern routes. I like Northern Seven too, even though it’s actually closer to like six and a half. There are a lot more trees that way so it’s not freezing when it gets colder. You do have to change what runs you do, because doing the same runs every day would be awful.

Do you and your sibling hang out a lot here?

LC: Sometimes I make Garret go to sibling brunch with me. Last year we did that a lot. Also, sometimes I make him study at Slow Train with me.

JU: Sarah and I both are in the same astronomy class, so we’ll work on the problem sets together then. A lot of times she’ll just find me in the atrium or the science library and we’ll study together. Whenever I get tired of Stevie, I pretty much tell Sarah that she is going to Agave with me.

Anyone else in the family that might come to Oberlin?

SU: We have a younger sister. She’s a junior in high school and I just have this strange feeling that she’s gonna come to Oberlin.

JU: Every time [our sister] sees us, she says, “When I come to Oberlin…” She’s funny.

GC: I’m the youngest, so no.

LC: Yeah, our older sister missed out on the Coombs opportunity. That’s her bad, I guess.