Turner sisters key in bringing championships to Millbury High

John Orrell
Millbury High School student-athletes and twin sisters, Kelsey, left, and Kayla Turner

MILLBURY — If there were a statistic kept on the total number of championships recorded throughout a high school career in a chosen sport, it would be a pretty safe bet that Millbury High School’s Turner twins, Kayla and Kelsey, would be tops on the list.

Those close to MHS girls’ soccer are aware of the astonishing achievements in recent years that include four district championships and three state championships in the Turners’ career which still has another season to play out. The seniors elicited so much talent in their younger years that they were chosen for varsity as seventh-graders, something rarely done, but in their case, one that paid dividends in a big way.

But, does so much success come with the price tag of perhaps higher expectations year-in and year-out? Is the bar set for the twins and their teammates just a bit higher than for others?

“You really have to live up to everything,” explained Kayla. “We’ve always been known to be good and every year you have to keep it going and live up to the standard of championships. There’s not a lot of girls across the country that have been able to experience the highs that we have being on championship teams. It has been so much fun and will be a cool memory for the rest of our lives.”

“When you’re on a state championship team, people expect you to be as good as last year,” said Kelsey, three minutes senior in age to her sister. “We’re always practicing. In the summer, we do conditioning. Going into the season, there can be some extra pressure because we’re expected to win. It never gets easier. The more games you play, the less nervous people think you are, but it’s not like that.

“This year’s championship was really special because we worked so hard as a team. It was a great feeling.”

Sports have been a staple in the twins’ lives since their early days with their dad coaching them at almost every age and in every sport. They also are prolific shooting guards for the MHS varsity basketball team that went 21-3 last season with Kayla knocking down 68 points and Kelsey 87. In the classroom, they are just as accomplished. Both are members of the National Honor Society and recognize that hard work and commitment, on and off the field and court, are essential for success.

“Showing up at practices every day is a real commitment,” Kayla acknowledged. “You can’t skip one because you don’t want to go. You have to work hard at every practice. You may not be able to hang out with your friends and you have to make late nights for studying to keep up with your schoolwork, but it’s all worth it in the end.”

“You have to show up and play your best at every practice,” added Kelsey. “It’s never easy, but you have to go 100%t. We’re really great friends with our teammates and it’s always fun to be able to play the sport we love growing up.”

This season will mark the twins’ first as captains for soccer and both acknowledge that team responsibilities are more vital now. They will be counted on heavily by head coach Hussein Issa to provide leadership to younger players on and off the field.

“We’ve always had incredible captains and we’ve always wanted to be like them,” said Kayla, who was named a Massachusetts all-star in her junior and senior years and Central Mass. all-star as a junior. “There were always great role models to go off of who were friendly with the younger kids. We want to be the same kind of role models where the younger players can come to us and we’ll help them.”

“It’s hard to think that we’re not going to have our regular season, but you have to stay positive about everything,” said Kelsey regarding the uncertain fate of the fall season due to COVID-19. “We’ve been conditioning with our team all summer to get ready for the season even if it’s not what we’re used to. We just want to play and be with our teammates.”

The sisters are close in all aspects of life; arguably their biggest supporters of one another. Each appreciates the backing and success that they have accomplished in their high school careers. Support from across the town has been one of the most prized elements of the entire experience, they agree.

“Being on the team since seventh grade allowed us to take in how much being on a varsity team means and how much the school will support you and the town as well,” said Kayla. “People standing outside their houses cheering for you or meeting you at the high school after a big win show their recognition and make you feel special for playing a sport you love.”

“It’s great having a sister on your team because Kayla’s always cheering me on and telling me what to do,” Kelsey added. “It’s always nice having her with me. When it comes time for choosing partners, we always choose each other because we feel like we have a special connection, especially on the field.

“We’ve been known to be partners for everything. We just know what each other likes.”

Millbury High School student-athletes and twin sisters, Kelsey, left, and Kayla Turner