Favorite athlete: My favorite athlete is Uche Nwogwugwu because I ran against her when she went to North Penn and now she goes to the University of Pennsylvania and is a very successful athlete there. I am also a fan of Sydney McLaughlin and Usain Bolt.
Favorite team: NY Knicks.
Favorite memory competing in sports: Running a 4x100 meter relay with my three sisters: The Martin Relay. Another memory was winning the freshman 4x100 meter relay at Penn Relays as well as medaling at spring track States this year in the 4x800 and the 4x400 relay because we were the underdogs and weren’t supposed to place.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: While we were doing warm-ups, my friend and I were talking and all of a sudden, she runs into a trash can and falls down with the trash can in front of the field hockey team.
Music on mobile device: Pop and alternative
Future plans: Become a Movie and TV Producer where I will direct and edit. l would also like to be an interior designer. My interior design skills will help me to set up movie and TV scenes. I will be pursuing these plans at High Point University where I will continue running Cross Country and Track and Field.
Words to live by: “Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.”
One goal before you turn 30: I would like to be on an HGTV episode designing a home as well as produce a movie or TV show that is nominated for an award. I am a twin and I have twin sisters.
By Mary Jane Souder
Roll back the calendar four years.
Rachel Martin, then an eighth grader at Holicong, was in a heat for the 200-meter dash along with her twin sister Brooke. It was Rachel’s final middle school race – an invitational involving several schools - and her final opportunity to break the school record.
“My goal all season was to break the 200 meter record, and everyone was super supportive of my goal,” Rachel said. “I ran the 200 meters at almost every meet but could never break the record until the last meet.
“Brooke knew how badly I wanted it, so while we were running the race together, with 100 meters left, Brooke cheered for me – ‘Come on, let’s go Rachel’ - because she was a little bit ahead of me. As we approached the finish line, I ran a 27.3, Brooke ran 27.4, and the record was 27.5. We were shocked and relieved that we finally did it together.”
That account of a race four years ago tells you all you need to know about the relationship between the siblings. Both twins have been fixtures on the track team, and both have been each other’s biggest fans.
“There’s a little competition, but it’s more positive competition where we help each other and push each other to do the best we can,” Rachel said.
This spring when Brooke, the team’s top sprinter, was sidelined with a hamstring pull, Rachel – also a sprinter – was asked to fill her twin sister’s spot on the 4x800m relay.
“I definitely had to step up my game in order to hit Brooke’s times,” Rachel said of her twin, who will continue her track career at St. Joseph’s University. “Brooke left big shoes for me to fill in the 4x800 because she had a great season last year, but as I kept running and improving, Brooke was always there to support me.
“She always gave me a hug and said ‘you got this’ before I would run, and she would line the track to cheer me on. At first, I didn’t think I could run anywhere close to her times because I never ran the 800 meters outdoors. However, with training and confidence, I dropped five seconds off my time within a week. After that I was consistently running fast times and pushed past my comfort zone in order to move my team on to the higher end meets.”
The fact that Rachel rose to the challenge comes as no surprise to those who know her best. The 4x800 relay went on to medal at both districts and states, finishing seventh in states. Rachel also was part of the 4x400 relay that finished seventh in states. It is the first time the two East relays have medaled in the same year.
“We’ve usually had two relays that makes states, and one would medal and one didn’t,” said East coach Steve Martin, who also is the twins’ father. “This year was especially challenging for Rachel, who was thrown into the 800 for the first time, so she actually really learned to run it all in a season, enough to be competitive at the state level and get on the podium.
“Based on the challenges she faced, I think it was pretty special. She’s always had to take the backseat. She was faster than Brooke in middle school, and in high school, Brooke got stronger and became faster than Rachel. I think it’s been healthy for both of them because they push each other. It’s a supportive type of competitive nature, but I think it’s fueled Rachel on.”
Sam Lasorelli, who has been around the Martin twins for nine years at both the CYO and high school level, had a front row seat to Rachel’s progression as an athlete and leader.
“What makes Rachel unique from all the other girls, and she’s not alone – there’s a handful, she’s not a follower,” said the longtime East track coach, who also coached Martin in winter track and cross country. “She leads by example.
“She marches to the beat of her own drum, and basically, she is not influenced by negative influences. She holds her head high, she’s not a follower. She supports her teammates and her coaches 100 percent. She’s an excellent young lady.”
Rachel Martin has been running competitively since second grade when she became involved with CYO cross country. Brooke had started one year earlier along with older sister Ashley, who is two-and-a-half years older and a twin to Taylor.
“I decided to join because they said it was a lot of fun,” Rachel said. “Brooke and I did a bunch of different sports – we did basketball, soccer, dance and volleyball, but we liked track and cross country the best.”
Track was Rachel’s preference since she is best known as a sprinter/mid-distance runner and was part of East’s gold medal 4x100 freshman relay that finished first at the Penn Relays.
“The goal was to break the record that CB East held – we came a 10th (of a second) short of it, but it was still exciting to get first place,” Rachel said.
As a freshmen and sophomore, Rachel competed in the 100, 200 and 400 for East.
“As a junior, I strained my hamstring, so I had to be patient with my recovery,” she said. “As I started to get back towards the end of my spring track season, I ran the 4 and the 8 more often.”
Lasorelli, who nominated Martin for Univest Featured Athlete, said that the two-year captain has learned the science of running.
“She knows how to train, she knows how to compete, and she knows what she has to do to be the best,” Lasorelli said.
Not only is she loyal, dedicated and committed to what she’s doing, she’s accomplished a lot.”
Martin’s outstanding accomplishments this past year – as a member of two medal-winning relay teams in both winter and spring - didn’t just happen.
“Girls like her sister (Brooke) are a natural,” Lasorelli said. “Rachel had to work a lot harder to get to where she’s at.
“Rachel gave 110 percent to be the best that she can be. She was very instrumental in both relay teams winning state medals, but she is one of those kids that runs under the radar, and she’s finally surfaced and became a runner everyone recognizes. There are always other girls like her sister that may outshine her, but Rachel really stepped forward and became a leader and a star athlete that really helped the team this year.”
Off the track, Martin has a clear picture of her career path with her sights set on combining her interest in media production with her passion for interior design when she enrolls at High Point University where she will continue her track career.
“I do like art, but I’m just very organized at home,” she said. “I could see myself decorating houses.
“Everybody says if you go into interior design – High Point is like a red carpet to getting a job. They have a furniture market where Chip and Joanna Gaines come down, and you set up a design and try to sell things. For media production, they also have the products and the stage to succeed.”
An excellent student, Martin, who has taken numerous AP courses, is a member of the National Honor Society as well as the National Art and Spanish Honor Societies. She is a member of the Spanish Club and Share-a-Bag Club, which entails filling bags with food and drink for the needy. She also volunteers at Doylestown Hospital every Sunday, logging over 380 hours transporting patients.
As she leaves East, the two-year senior captain acknowledged the significance of her experiences in track and cross country.
“It helped me push past my barriers because I always know I have a lot more in the tank after I finish running,” she said. “I feel like I came a long way from CYO to running at East because I used to just be good at the 1 and 2, but now I’ve been able to branch up to the 4 and the 8 and the 5Ks as well.”
Martin’s versatility is proving valuable already. High Point is projecting her as a distance runner. Lasorelli is not surprised.
“Last fall she had a great year running cross country,” the Patriots’ cross country coach said. “She posted the best times of her career.
“She was always trained to be a sprinter, but I always felt that she had the potential to be a good distance runner. In my opinion, she’s going to be a great miler. I would not be surprised is she breaks 5:15 next spring at High Point. It’s going to be a transformation for her mentally and emotionally to switch over, but the fact that she is a dedicated and committed athlete and a very smart athlete – she will do what she has to do to be successful.”