Andover High School may have record number of twins

by Eric Hagen
Staff Writer

The teachers and students of Andover High School knew that quite a few students are twins, but nobody knew the actual number.

Andover High School has 28 sets of twins and one set of triplets in the student population. The school gathered as many students as possible for a group photo on Valentine’s Day. Photo by Eric Hagen

Office secretary Phyllis Olsen researched this question and discovered there are currently 28 sets of twins and one set of triplets attending Andover High School.

Whether this is the most sets of twins that have ever been in the same school at one time is not known, but the school submitted its number to the Guinness Book of World Records and expects to hear where it stands in a few weeks, according to the school’s yearbook adviser Patty Grant.

“It was actually really cool. I knew we had a lot of twins in our grade, but in the school there were a lot of twins I didn’t know about. It was a neat experience,” said Brent Stong, who was born on Nov. 22, 1993 with his twin brother Nathan Stong.

These seniors will be heading to Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., to play baseball and continue their academic life together.

The Stong brothers have played together on every sports team since they were four years old. They used to play hockey, but dropped that sport their senior year to focus on preparing for college baseball.

Attending the same college was not a prerequisite when they were going through the recruiting process. However. Nathan, who plays catcher, said that Bradley University was his best offer. Brent, a pitcher, had offers from Minnesota and Nebraska. He chose Bradley University because of the education, the chance to start right away and he liked the coaches and the small school atmosphere.

Twin sisters Peyton (left) and Alexis Zapzalka have been close friends their whole lives, so there will be an adjustment period after they graduate high school this spring and go to different colleges. Photo by Eric Hagen

On the other hand, seniors Alexis and Peyton Zapzalka are going to be hundreds of miles apart over an extended period for the first time in their lives. Alexis chose the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph because of its English department. Peyton was impressed with Iowa State’s chemical engineering program.

“We’ve never been apart before, so it’s kind of scary, but we know we can always call and text each other,” Peyton said.

Alexis and Peyton, born on July 20, 1994, have been best friends through their years of growing up together. It does not feel right when they are not spending time together, Peyton said.

Up through middle school they were on the same basketball, softball and swimming teams, but they started going their separate ways athletically in high school. Both have done quite well. Alexis is a swim team captain and Peyton is a captain for the track team.

Coincidently, the Zapzalka sisters were born on the same day at Mercy Hospital as twin brothers Matthew and Michael Scultz.

Matthew said he and his brother Michael were really close growing up, but grew apart in middle school when their class schedules did not match up. They played hockey together for 12 years until 10th grade. Michael continued to play after Matthew stopped playing.

Michael will be enrolling at Anoka Technical College this fall to begin pursuing a career in construction, while Matthew enrolls at Bethel University with a goal of majoring in physics. Michael said it should be an easy transition for them to go to separate colleges, but it will be nice for them to come home to see each other.

The school gathered as many of the twins as possible for a group photo on Valentine’s Day. Senior Brett Burger and sophomore Kate Roth were there to document the event for the yearbook.

Burger was aware that the senior class had 12 or 13 sets of twins and said some joked about notifying the Guinness Book of World Records in case this was a record for a graduating class. The original plan was to highlight the senior class, but they expanded to the whole school when they realized there are an abundance of twins at Andover High School.

Roth said they are planning to make a full-page spread with photos from the Valentine’s Day photo shoot, which included an appearance by Minnesota Twins mascot T.C. Bear.

Burger already knows the title for the page spread in the yearbook — “Multiplying multiples.”

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]