WALLINGFORD — The Gill brothers have been a force on the cross country trails for the last four years.
Lyman Hall’s Jon Gill and Wilcox Tech’s Chris Gill have churned out several victories in their high school careers and are continually seen cheering each other on despite going to different high schools.
“Every time when he is running and I’m not, I’m there cheering him on,” Jon Gill said. “He’s doing the same for me.
“We asked each other the other day, ‘Why did we choose running?’” Jon added. “It’s kind of in our blood. My mom was a big track star and we started doing it in middle school. We just stuck to it. To me, I don’t mind running. I see it as an enjoyment. They run because they want to. I just run for fun, and me and my brother push each other every day. It’s a big competition because we are at two different schools and two different teams. We are always neck and neck.”
Three Gill siblings all ended up at different schools. Katie Gill, the twins’ older sister, was a field hockey standout at Sheehan and currently is a senior midfielder at Springfield College.
“I went to tech school because I wanted to learn carpentry and Jon didn’t like Sheehan, so he went to Lyman Hall. It just kind of happened like that,” Chris Gill said.
Another Gill seen during Wilcox Tech and Lyman Hall races is the twins’ mother, Cherlyn Gill.
The twins agree that seeing their mother along the course helps push them more.
“My team loves my mom because of her love for the school and her love for the team,” Jon Gill said. “She’s cheering for the girls and cheering for the guys. She is in spots where you don’t expect to see anyone cheering you on. She’s a big inspiration for all of us.”
Cherlyn Gill was a multi-athlete star at Lyman Hall and was eventually inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
“I have expectations to fill being at that school,” Jon Gill said. “I walk by and see her picture on the wall and I tell people, ‘That’s my mother.’ They say, “Now I know where you got your running gene from.”
Whatever the reason, both Gills are tough to beat. Jon Gill earned First Team All-Conference with a 12th-place finish last Thursday at the SCC championship meet.
Chris Gill, who is a minute older than Jon, collected his second Constitution State Conference championship last week at Wickham Park. He also spearheaded Wilcox Tech to its first-ever CSC team championship.
With their high school careers coming to a close soon, both see the military in their future.
Jon plans to join the Air Force and Chris hopes to become a Marine. They are doing it to honor their father and grandfather, both military veterans.
“I’m not an academic person, so I didn’t want to go to college,” Chris said. “My dad was OK with it. He passed away when I was in eighth grade. It’s something that would be nice to do.”
William Gill died unexpectedly on February 11, 2011.
“It was hard to lose a father at such a young age,” Jon Gill said. “He had some heart trouble. We were very close and he taught us a lot. I miss him every day.”
Jon Gill said he wants to keep the family military legacy alive.
“My dad was in the Air Force military police and I’m going to do the same thing that he did because my career I have chosen is to be an FBI or CIA agent,” Jon Gill said. “Then my brother wants to be a Marine because he has been dressing up as a Marine since he was 8-years old and would always watch military movies.”
Jon Gill plans to run in college at either UMass-Lowell, Springfield or Tampa.
Chris Gill’s competitive running career ends this fall.
Up next are the CIAC class championship meets Saturday at Wickham Park. Chris and Wilcox Tech will run in the Class M race at 2:40. Jon and Lyman Hall close the day in the boys Class MM contest at 3:45 p.m.
“I’m definitely ready for states,” Chris said. “I’m hoping to qualify for New Englands. I’m going to try because this is it.”
Jon Gill said he’s prepared for states and, like his brother, wants to qualify for the State Open at Wickham Park on Nov. 6 and the New England Championships at Thetford Academy in Vermont on Nov. 14.
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