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Final competition arrives for Mitchell's dynamic duo

They've shined under the lights of Friday night football, dominated the wrestling mat and exceled on the track. Identical twins Jason and Justin Greenway have put a stamp on the athletic department at Mitchell High with state titles and school re...

The Greenways
Jason, left, and Justin Greenway this week at Joe Quintal Field. (Chris Huber/Republic)

They've shined under the lights of Friday night football, dominated the wrestling mat and exceled on the track.

Identical twins Jason and Justin Greenway have put a stamp on the athletic department at Mitchell High with state titles and school records. As Kernels, they've had moments that fans will talk about for a long time.

"With the success we've had, I hope we've given the athletes coming up something to aspire to," Justin Greenway said. "I hope we brought in a new level of what's expected out of Mitchell and the teams here."

Saturday, the Greenways are putting an end to their impressive high school athletic careers at the final day of the state track and field meet in Rapid City. After today, they'll move on to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, where they'll likely continue to amaze and awe. Both are signed to play football and compete in track and field.

"It's not so much their abilities that are impressive to me," said Mitchell Activities Director and head track and field coach Geoff Gross. "From day one of them competing on the varsity level, there's been no intimidation factor. Their effort has been absolutely incredible."

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They're athleticism has always reflected their family name, being cousins of Mount Vernon native Chad Greenway, now a six-year Minnesota Vikings linebacker, who also won state championships in high school football and track and field.

Jason Greenway, a two-time state wrestling champion, is gunning for state titles in the 100-meter dash, the 300 hurdles and will anchor the 1,600-meter relay team, which set a school record earlier this year. He's expected to win or finish in the top three in each event. On Friday, he was the state runner-up in the Class AA long jump.

"I guess I feel I have done a lot for athletics," said Jason Greenway, who holds individual school records in the long jump, 200 dash and 300 hurdles. "I'm hoping to add to it this weekend."

Justin Greenway, a state sprinting champion as a junior, will be a part of two relay teams today. Last year's state meet was more exciting for him, winning a state title in the 200 and getting runner-up finishes in the 100 and 400. His senior athletic season was slowed due to a knee injury he suffered in summer football camp.

Coaches who know the Greenway twins best say their success has come from their competitiveness against each other, never wanting to get outshined.

"They grew up wanting to beat each other, and I think that's what's driven them throughout their career," said Travis Carpenter, a linebackers coach on the football team and the school's head wrestling coach. "You could definitely tell they had a competitiveness to them at an early age."

The Greenways both came onto the varsity football scene as sophomores. They played a large role in helping turn the Kernels' football program back into a winner. Mitchell's 8-3 record their senior year was the school's first winning season since 1999 and most wins since 1986, a year the school went 11-1.

Jason was an all-state running back as a senior. He rushed for 2,597 yards in his junior and senior seasons combined and added 23 touchdowns as a senior.

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Justin's standout football season came in his junior year, when he was named an all-state defensive back. Before the start of his senior season, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, an injury he played through all year.

"Both of those two at 100 percent could control a football game pretty easily," Carpenter said.

He finished his senior season with 11 touchdowns and 532 rushing yards with two interceptions and 40 tackles. He was named honorable mention all-state.

"I think we've definitely helped put Mitchell football back on the map," Justin Greenway said. "Kids are staying out for the team ... people go to the games and are talking about it around town."

The two agree on their most memorable moment, which came the night of Oct 7.

"The Lincoln football game," Jason Greenway said. "Something I'll never forget."

The twins helped the Kernels knock off then-No. 1 ranked Sioux Falls Lincoln 50-49 at Joe Quintal Field in a game that saw lightning delays, long-scoring plays and a late come-from-behind victory. It's arguably the biggest win in the program's modern history.

"Just looking up at the crowd and how they reacted," Justin Greenway said. "You couldn't hear anything. It was awesome."

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They say they don't have any regrets about their time at Mitchell High School. But they would like to take back two Eastern South Dakota Conference football losses this past season against Yankton and Brandon Valley. Mitchell's last loss came against Sioux Falls Washington in the state Class 11AA quarterfinals.

After the football season, Justin had knee surgery and didn't wrestle, a sport in which he's a five-time state place-winner with three third-place finishes. Jason went on to win his second straight Class A state title. As a junior, Jason beat Rapid City Stevens' three-time champion Jarrett Jensen in the finals, another top moment in his high school career.

"He'll definitely never forget that, and neither will I," Carpenter said.

This fall, the Greenways will change their uniforms from Kernels to Vikings in their transition to college athletics. Justin is majoring in athletic training, while Jason is an undecided major.

As of Wednesday, the Greenways said it hadn't really struck them that this weekend would be their last high school competition. They were focused on helping Mitchell High School make the podium at the state track meet.

"It's nice to know I'll be able to continue football and track during college," Jason Greenway said. "I think being as I'm playing those sports in college, it's not affecting me quite as much as someone who had their last football season this year."

Added Justin: "I've had a good run. Knowing that I have four or five more years of it, it's helping a little bit, but I will miss high school sports a lot."

Luke Hagen was promoted to editor of the Mitchell Republic in 2014. He has worked for the newspaper since 2008 and has covered sports, outdoors, education, features and breaking news. He can be reached at lhagen@mitchellrepublic.com.
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