Kendall Kwiatkowski and Emily Nordquist have a lot in common.

Kendall Kwiatkowski and Emily Nordquist have a lot in common.

Both are seniors on the Thomas Worthington High School girls track and field team. Both run the 400 meters and compete in the 1,600 and 3,200 relays. And both excel in the classroom and on the track.

But one way coach Evie Scholl can tell them apart is the way they run.

"They really are the same, running the same events in similar times," Scholl said. "Except Kendall runs like a soccer player with her elbows out, but that might be the only thing. But that's not a bad thing; it's just the way she runs."

Kwiatkowski has a personal-record of 59.76 seconds in the 400, with Nordquist close behind at 1:00, according to Scholl.

"We definitely push each other, both in meets and in practice," Kwiatkowski said. "We do the same training and we're basically the same speed, so we're usually in the same heat. If one of us wins by a 10th of a second, the other wins the next time."

"We do have a friendly rivalry," Nordquist said. "We're both so close, running around 60 (seconds in the 400). Some days I win and some days Kendall wins."

Scholl said the girls make the most of their abilities.

"One thing that's good about them is that neither of them were superstars when they were freshmen," she said. "They really had to work hard in their freshman and sophomore years because they were pretty average, but they worked hard to get where they are today."

Last season, Kwiatkowski and Nordquist joined 2011 graduates Rachel Erb and Danielle Henderson on the 1,600 relay that finished sixth (4:05.56) in the Division I, district 2 meet at Hilliard Bradley. Had the relay been in one of the other three district meets, it would have finished in the top four and advanced to the regional at Pickerington North.

"They were upset with the way things ended last year," Scholl said. "They have run a 4:03 already this year and had a 4:06 last year, so they have already run better than they did last year.

"They are really competitive and work really hard in the weight room. They came at 6 a.m. every morning to work and they lifted more than the boys. That's how much they wanted to improve."

In the Division I indoor state meet March 17 at the University of Akron, Kwiatkowski and Nordquist joined junior Annie McFarland and sophomore Ashley Forte to finish 10th in the 1,600 relay (4:08.4). This spring, the 1,600 has consisted of Kwiatkowski, Nordquist, Forte and sophomore Allison Huedepohl.

"I like the (1,600 relay) best because it's more exciting and it's the very last event, so everyone actually watches the race because they aren't warming up for another event," said Nordquist, who has a 3.9 GPA. "The (3,200 relay) is a little too long. The (1,600 relay) is the perfect distance."

"I like the 400, but probably like the (1,600 relay) best," said Kwiatkowski, who has a 4.13 GPA on a weighted scale. "I feel like I'm not just running for myself, but also for three other people. Plus, it's great to have the whole team cheering you on at the backstretch."

Both hope their teammates will be cheering them to victory in the home Gary Smith Invitational on Saturday, April 28. The meet is named for a longtime cross country and track coach at the school who died of pancreatic cancer in 1998.

"(The Gary Smith Invitational) is the meet we focus on before we have OCC, district and regional," Nordquist said. "We focus on that, which makes it a huge home meet."

Last season, the Thomas girls finished sixth (54) in the 15-team event behind champion Solon (122). The 15-team boys meet also was won by Solon (162), with Thomas finishing fifth (155).

Their final Gary Smith Invitational will be bittersweet for Kwiatkowski and Nordquist, who are part of a four-member senior class for the girls team with Tara Murphy and Megan Neff.

"(Being a senior) is not extra work, but extra responsibility," Nordquist said. "Coach works in another district (at Hastings Middle School in Upper Arlington) and it's up to us to make sure everyone gets ready for practice and starts stretching and things like that. Sometimes I think the younger kids hate that, but we're really a close-knit group."

Kwiatkowski and Nordquist plan to attend different colleges. Kwiatkowski will be going to the University of Findlay to play soccer and major in occupational therapy. Nordquist has narrowed her college choices to Johns Hopkins and Case Western Reserve and plans to major in biology with an eye toward medical school.

"Last year I thought it would be exciting to move on from here, but now it kind of seems a little scary," Kwiatkowski said. "I'll miss so many people from soccer and track. I'm not ready for it to end."