Taphorn Twins Heading Off to College Teams

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PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — They have been just about inseparable since birth.

But that is changing for twins Justin and Jenna Taphorn.

“It will be interesting,” Justin Taphorn said. “We have spent the last 18 years together. It will be weird.”

The brother and sister combo from Pekin is separating. This week they are heading off to their college for their summer workouts with their new teams.

Justin is joining the basketball team at Wisconsin, where he is a preferred walk-on. Jenna is heading to Edwardsville where she will play volleyball for Southern Illinois.

They’ve worked out together, pushed each other in school, cheered one another from the stands and helped each other reach the goal of playing sports in college. They’ll be apart for the first time in their lives.

“To have someone in the same grade, we do so much together, we are super close,” Jenna Taphorn said. “To have that relationship with someone who is just as determined and wants to work as hard as you… it’s great to be chasing our goals.”

Both admit they learned a lot watching older brother Nathan play college basketball at Northwestern. Now they are motivating each other to have successful college careers apart from each other.

“We both helped each other, we inspired each other,” said Justin Taphorn. “We never settled, we were never satisfied with (the status quo). We learned to always be grateful for what we have.”

Ironically, they will have similar studies in college. Jenna is studying exercise science with the goal of being a Physician’s Assistant.

Justin is studying kinesiology in hopes of becoming an athletic trainer of physical therapist. And they say their interests in their eventual college majors started before high school.

“Eighth grade year we both went through physical therapy. We decided we wanted to be physical therapists,” said Jenna Taphorn. “We thought about it, changed our path a little bit but stayed with the same major. I think it’s super cool that we can lean on each other even at different schools.”

Sounds like they will be together even though they’ll be hundreds of miles apart.

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