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Seeing double: Bethel football roster includes two sets of twins

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – It’s difficult enough to keep one set of twins straight. Bethel College football coaches have to deal with two.

David and Dana Daugharthy, first-year freshmen from Iola, and Jesse and David Mueller, first-year freshmen from Halstead, are the two sets of twins playing football this fall. They’re not just twins – they’re identical twins. Both Davids are defensive backs while Dana and Jesse are linebackers.

In each case, the Daugharthys and the Muellers first had to make the decision to go to college together. Once they decided to do so, the next step was figuring out which college was the best fit.

David and Dana came to Bethel from Iola, leaving behind parents James and Barbra and siblings Brian and Danielle. The brothers have always been the sporting type, participating in football, baseball, track and basketball together.

You might think playing in that many sports together for almost as long as they both can remember would create some tension on the field or court. They agree that the only real problem they’ve run into is that both are highly competitive.

“In seventh grade, we were playing this football game,” says Dana. “David was a running back and I was an offensive lineman. David had just made a 50-yard run to put us on the three-yard line.”

David could have scored the touchdown because he had broken through the defense and had an open field ahead of him, but he had stopped and turned around, thinking he heard the referee’s whistle.

“So after David made that really long run,” Dana continues, “we called a time out. The coach thought he would just punch the ball in the end zone by running it up the gut, giving the ball to David. However, he accidentally put me in at running back instead of David, and I took away his touchdown. That is still, to this day, the only touchdown that I have ever scored, and I am proud to say that I took it away from my brother!”

The Mueller brothers decided together to come to Bethel just as a generation of relatives before them had done. They followed their family’s footsteps to Bethel from Halstead, saying goodbye to parents Chuck (a 1980 Bethel College graduate) and Ruth and sister Leah.

Like the Daugharthys, the Muellers also participated in several sports, including soccer, baseball, track and football. Like David and Dana, Jesse and David have had little trouble competing together. In fact, they were so well-suited to it that they ran together in the same relay in track and as seniors placed third in the Kansas state high school track meet in the 4X800 relay.

As freshmen, none of the four are starting players for the Bethel College Threshers. However, they are part of a football team that is enjoying its best season in several years, having lost only one of its eight games, with two left to play. The Threshers are in a three-way tie for first place in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Having twins on a team may be an interesting phenomenon in itself but having two sets of identical twins is practically unheard of. Running into them on campus may give the impression of seeing double – but it’s only the twins.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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