Woldmoe brothers bring double trouble

MATTHEW VANTRYON | Asst. Sports Editor

When one sibling lives in the shadow of another, bitterness and jealousy often arise. The opposite is true for Austin and Alex Woldmoe, who are members of Butler’s men’s tennis team. In fact, they call each other best friends.

The journey began at a young age for the Woldmoes. Their father, Mark Woldmoe, achieved a world ranking in one year on the Association for Tennis Professionals tour, in addition to playing in Europe on a German club team.

Having achieved success at some of the highest levels, he is able to pass that knowledge down.

“It helped me see what it takes to succeed at that level,” Mark said.

Yet despite his success, he did not force the sport on his sons.

“I never wanted to burn them out,” Mark said. “We were pretty slow. I wanted to make sure it was something they wanted to do. I didn’t want them to do it for me.”

For Alex, that made all the difference.

“Our dad is our biggest influence,” Alex, a freshman, said. “He never really pushed us into playing tennis, he gave us the option. Not forcing it on us brought all three of us together. Tennis is something you can share on and off the court.”

The brothers have played on the same teams since high school, where they spent two years on the team at Hamilton Southeastern in nearby Fishers, Ind.

The head tennis coach at the school left at the beginning of Austin’s junior year and Alex’s freshman year. The brothers convinced a familiar face to step in. Their father took over the head coaching position that year.

What emerged was immense success and lifelong memories.

The team experienced its first undefeated season in school history during Mark Woldmoe’s first year at the helm. Austin won a key match in the state sectionals against Carmel, making it all the more special.

Austin said his favorite tennis memory is that season as a whole.

“The fact that we could share that together, and not only share it together but share success together, made those the best years of my life,” Austin said.

His dad shares that sentiment.

Woldmoe with brothers_Facebook

“Those are memories that I will never forget,” Mark said. “I bet they would say the same thing.”

Austin began his collegiate career at Butler in 2011, while Alex had two more years at Hamilton Southeastern. When it came time to pick a college, the opportunity to be reunited with his brother was something Alex could not pass up.

Alex had scholarship offers from various other in-state schools but was drawn to Butler. He said he does not regret the decision.

“It just feels right. I can’t imagine it any other way,” Alex said.

Austin said he also relishes the opportunity.

“This is an extremely special opportunity that not a lot of siblings get to experience,” Austin said.

When it comes to playing on the court, the bond the brothers share pays dividends.

The Woldmoes won their first doubles match of the season. Austin said they won because they know each other so well.

“There’s a different element to playing doubles with your brother,” Austin said. “If you’re playing together and things aren’t going your way, you’re still brothers and we don’t have anything to lose. You might not know how another teammate clicks internally, but we know what gets each other fired up and how to take the pressure off each other.”

Make no mistake, there is plenty of competition both on and off the tennis court. Instead of being divisive, however, the competition brings them together.

“I would definitely say we have a competitive nature,” Austin said. “Most brothers do, and most siblings do. We definitely have that, but I don’t think we’d be where we are without that.”

Alex added that the same competitiveness can be seen regardless of the activity.

“I feel like we’re competitive about every aspect in life,” Alex said. “Whether it’s a video game or a pickup basketball game, we always get into it.”

While Austin’s Butler career is approaching its conclusion, Alex’s is just beginning. As a team captain, Austin has been able to lead his younger teammates including his brother.

“I know that, if I were a freshman, I would redo some of the things I didn’t know at the time, so I have the ability to share information with Alex or some of the sophomores that can put them ahead,” Austin said.

One of the biggest imprints Austin has left on his younger sibling is the power of encouragement. Alex said he looks forward to stepping into that leadership role in the future.

“The biggest thing is the power of words,” Alex said. “He has motivated me whenever I’m down. I can learn a lot of things from watching Austin be a leader. I know that two years from now, that will be my chance to take that role.”

Butler tennis head coach Parker Ross said Alex is already beginning to develop his own personality while learning from those around him.

“Alex definitely has created his own identity on the team and is always finding his own way, but they definitely do a lot of things together and are similar in their mindsets,” Ross said.

Ross echoed Alex’s recognition of Austin as a leader, and said Austin has taken on a coach’s mentality.

“Austin has a unique ability to analyze and motivate. He is such a positive person and has instilled this belief in other guys on the team in match situations,” Ross said. “I consider Austin as almost another coach on the team because he has such a great understanding of the game and is great at communicating encouragement.”

Alex and Austin are 1-4 on the season as doubles partners. Yet it all comes back to the bond they share. It is a bond that extends beyond the chalk lines into the campus and home.

Some siblings would create separation in order to allow for separate identities to be created. This is a unique situation.

“There’s no space between us. Whether it’s on campus or at home, we’re going to be spending every second together,” Austin said.

There are a variety of words that could describe the relationship Austin and Alex share. Teammates, brothers, and friends come to mind. Regardless of the title, it is a bond that will never be broken.

“We have lunch and dinner together every single day, we hang out together on the weekends, we’re best friends,” said Austin. “There’s not a single person I’d rather be with.”

 

from watching Austin be a leader. I know that two years from now, that will be my chance to take that role.”

Butler tennis coach Parker Ross said Alex is beginning to develop his own personality while learning from those around him.

“Alex definitely has created his own identity on the team and is always finding his own way, but the brothers definitely do a lot of things together and are similar in their mindsets,” Ross said.

Ross said Austin has taken on a coach’s mentality.

“Austin has a unique ability to analyze and motivate,” Ross said. “He is such a positive person and has instilled this belief in other guys on the team in match situations. I consider Austin as almost another coach on the team because he has such a great understanding of the game and is great at communicating encouragement.”

Alex and Austin are 1-4 on the season as doubles partners.It is not record the two were hoping for, but it has not put a strain on the pairs’ relationship.

The brothers’ bond is one that extends beyond the chalk lines into the rest of campus and their home.

Some siblings separate  to create different identities. The Woldmoes are in a unique situation.

“There’s no space between us. Whether it’s on campus or at home, we’re going to be spending every second together,” Austin said.

“We have lunch and dinner together every single day, we hang out together on the weekends. We’re best friends,” said Austin. “There’s not a single person I’d rather be with.”

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