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Brotherly bond

Aiden Cartier, left, and his younger brother, Andrew Cartier, right, took first and second place in the triple jump at the State Tournament, respectively. Doug Etten photo
Aiden Cartier, left, and his younger brother, Andrew Cartier, right, took first and second place in the triple jump at the State Tournament, respectively. Doug Etten photo

Cartier brothers take first and second at State

By Tori Wittenbrock

Associate Sports Editor

DE PERE – De Pere Redbirds senior Aiden Cartier and his brother Andrew, a junior, realized their year-long goal of monopolizing the podium at this year’s WIAA State Tournament for the triple jump event by taking first and second place.

“For me, I went to State in four events this year and the triple jump was really the only event that I performed well in — or at least how I wanted to. I kind of messed up in both the hurdle events a little bit and did not run a good enough time. It was a little tough for me but after we went 1 and 2, it kind of made it a little more enjoyable since that was our main goal since the beginning of last season,” said Aiden.

Though Aiden took second place, he said he was proud to see his younger brother pass him up for first as they wrapped up their final year of track together in high school.

“I wasn’t really thinking about going to State in any other events besides triple jump and it was super cool just to be able to go to State and get first and second as brothers, especially because we have been triple jumping since my sophomore year and his freshman year together,” said Aiden. 

Andrew said that he was proud of being able to redeem himself after his last experience at the State Tournament did not go as planned.

“Last year I did not have a very good State experience so once I got back into this year, that was definitely my one goal that I was going for. Last year the weather was horrible and we were jumping at like 11 o’clock at night, so this year being able to jump during the day at our special times helped us. Getting first and second place with Aiden our last year together is definitely important for us since that was our goal all along,” said Andrew.

Finding their passion

Though their primary sport has always been track, the Cartier brothers said that their athleticism came into play with soccer for many years as well.

“I primarily play soccer and run track. For track I do a broad amount of events. I do the 110 hurdles, the 300 hurdles, long jump, I triple jump and high jump and I pole vault a little bit,” said Aiden. 

Despite following in his brother’s footsteps with their passion for track, Andrew decided it was time to hang up his boots and forgo playing soccer this season believing it would give him more time to focus on his events — pole vault, long jump and triple jump.

According to the Cartier brothers, their enthusiasm for athletics has been passed down through the family.

“We started playing soccer because my dad played it growing up so we have played it since kindergarten. We grew up playing it all the time and played club soccer and travel soccer. It was definitely a big part of our life growing up, so that was kind of the main reason we stuck with it,” said Aiden. “My sister played soccer all through high school, so that was more of a childhood sport that we stuck with through the years.”

However, their passion for track came later.

“For track, my sister had run track in middle school and we were in the intermediate elementary school and just fell in love with the sport. We always went and practiced with her and we were super excited to run it when we got into middle school,” said Aiden.

The mental side of things

“With track, obviously it is an individual sport and you always want to do your best and beat the people you are competing against, like me and Andrew in triple jump and long jump — we are always competing against each other while being on the same team,” said Aiden.

“It’s kind of weird to get used to coming from a team sport because you’re so used to just cheering everyone on no matter what. When it comes to track you are too, but you also want to beat them at the same time.”

Andrew said that the individuality of track makes it increasingly difficult because the pressure is all on you to perform.

“I would say track is definitely a lot more mentally tough because you don’t always have your team there that you are working with — it is just you and your event that you  are doing. Playing soccer you have a big environment where you all work together to get the same goal,” said Andrew. 

According to Aiden, the family’s competitive culture has fostered an environment conducive to their success in sports.

“Growing up, Andrew and I always played the same exact sports and always did everything together and adding my sister in there, she always played soccer with us, which meant that it always got super competitive no matter what because we all like to win. We always kind of pushed each other and enjoyed trying new things and just competing against each other, always trying to win. That makes us both better since we have someone to train with and base our standards on,” said Aiden.

Even though both Aiden and Andrew said that they are extremely competitive, they still support each other no matter what.

“I would say Aiden and I are both competitive people, but at the same time, we both want to see each other succeed, so if one of us is doing better than the other, it’s not like we are going to be upset about that. We are still going to be rooting for each other even if we don’t do our best,” said Andrew.

Up next for the Cartiers

Aiden said that after years of hard work and dedication to his sport, the decision to attend the Naval Academy to further his academic and athletic career was pretty simple.

“For me it was honestly probably more last minute than a lot of people who plan to go to the Naval Academy. I reached out to a coach there last August, so it was a pretty quick turnaround with the application and everything. In December I went for my visit and I stayed with a kid from Denmark and went to a track meet there and I honestly just fell in love with the campus. I fell in love with the opportunity to serve my country and run at a super high level of DI track,” said Aiden. “I was going between UW-Madison and the Naval Academy for track. I ended up choosing the Naval Academy because the coaches there are awesome and I think that the track team there just has a really good bond which is something that is important to me because all throughout high school my track team had such a good bond and I went through all my  years of high school basically with my brother to compete with.”

As for Andrew, with another year left of high school sports, he has one main goal on his mind.

“Next year my biggest goal is to get that State record. I was pretty close to it this year, so that would be one of my top goals as a senior. Following that I’m also hoping to run track in college. I’m not really set on where I would like to go but I will definitely try to apply to the Naval Academy and see if I am able to get in there and be able to run track with my brother again,” said Andrew.

At this year’s State Tournament, Andrew jumped 48’5” to take first in State at the triple jump. The previous record held by Cordell Tinch (Bay Port) was a 49’2.25” jump.

Outside of sports

Although training for their sports takes a lot of time and dedication, the Cartier brothers said that they have a lot of hobbies to take their minds off the stress of competition.

“In the winter, Aiden and I snowboard a lot. We are very active people outside of our sport. We are always outside doing something whether it’s swimming or hiking. Even though I don’t play soccer anymore, we’ll both be kicking the ball around in the backyard and doing things like that,” said Andrew.

“We have both been getting into reading a little bit more and that’s something we have been doing just to calm us down and focus ourselves when we have a bad practice or are just stressed out. We use that as a time to refocus and have a time of just not having to compete for stuff. We also spend a lot of time hanging out with friends and family. We love just spending time with them. Especially me, since I am leaving in a few weeks or so. I am just enjoying the time I have left with everyone before I go off to college,” said Aiden.

In addition, one thing Aiden and Andrew make sure they never forget is their dedication to their studies.

“I would say our parents played a big role in our academics. That’s always been a big thing in our family, always pushing us to have good grades. Many of our coaches tell us how important our academics are when we are going into college and really no matter how good of an athlete you are, coaches are going to want to see you succeed in academics and know that you will be successful from that standpoint,” said Andrew.

“My sister and my brother and I have always had that as a standard we have set for ourselves and a lot of time that just means doing homework on the weekends or doing homework at a track meet or coming home from a soccer game. It just means trying to find time when we can succeed in the classroom after our events,” said Aiden.

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