Seeing double Torero twins

By John Barnum


The cross country team here at USD has lately shown great success, the women earning seventh and the men earning ninth at the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 28. Their success is due partly to the fact that they regard themselves as a family. In one case, however, this may be quite literal.

Ashton and Kalin Padberg are identical twins that are solid contributors to the women’s cross country and track teams. Both are sophomores who have been running for USD ever since they were recruited by coach Will Guarino their senior year of high school. Before college, Ashton and Kalin ran track and cross country all four years of high school. In fact, they have been running ever since they were physically able, running youth track together as well.

“We’re a family of runners,” said Ashton. Both are used to doing a lot together, joking that they are like an old married couple. “I take care of her,” Kalin said.

Though the two sisters love being together, attending the same college wasn’t always the plan. Ashton had her heart set on USD from the beginning of senior year, knowing it was the place for her. Kalin, knowing she wanted to run in college, did not want to go to the same place as Ashton. However, when Kalin saw USD, she immediately fell in love .

“There was just no other college I liked as much as USD,” Kalin said.

They are also planning to pursue degrees in the same International Business major. Ashton, on the other hand, also wishes to minor in Spanish, while Kalin is pursuing a minor in non-profit leadership. They both plan to study abroad together in Spain next semester. Currently residing in the Vistas with two other teammates, their living situation strikes the perfect balance of sport and family. “I’d say we’re pretty good roommates,” Ashton said.

Kalin said the girls believe they are very similar, at least where it is most important. “We agree on almost everything, so we don’t really argue,” she said. Ashton and Kalin are both 19 years old, but Kalin is older by 30 seconds. They say they have never taken a DNA test to discover if they are genetically “identical” or “fraternal,” but the similarity in their appearances is uncanny.

“I would constantly confuse them for each other and get their names wrong the first couple of weeks,” head coach Will Guarino said. “But once I got to know them on a deeper level, I realized how different they really are. I can always identify them by their stride though.”

Coach Guarino has been coaching for 10 years now and says he has encountered several sets of twins and siblings throughout his career. “We always say we are a family, but having actual blood relations makes that family even tighter,” he said. When describing early morning runs spanning longer than five or six miles, Guarino said that it helps to have someone suffering with you, who knows your pain.

Who’s the better runner? Looking at only the stats, Ashton’s PR, or personal record, is 10 seconds faster than Kalin’s. Be that as it may, the sisters say that all throughout high school they would constantly go back and forth between who was in first and who was right behind. At the moment Ashton is in the lead, but Guarino believes that they will most likely switch several times during their time here at USD. Coach Guarino says the twins are very supportive of each other, saying that they help to motivate one another to do better. Ashton and Kalin train together both during breaks and when they are not with the team.

“We have a healthy competition,” Ashton said. “And we never fight, which I guess is kind of weird.”

Coach Guarino said that while Kalin is more of a pack runner, Ashton tends to run regardless of who is around her. The twins say that beating each other is never in their minds;  they are always hoping the other does the best they can do. “On our team, it is not about passing someone,” coach Guarino said. “It is about taking someone with you.”

Ashton and Kalin will be running Oct. 19 at the Bronco Invitational in Santa Clara. More information about the event can be seen on the USD website. Toreros should attend the meet, at least to try and tell the difference between the two sisters.