Additional reporting by Esther Seawell
For the last four years, they’ve ran together, but next year, the Wilberding sibling rivalry will reach a new level as they will each suit up for different colleges.
Aubrey, Mallory and Tess Wilberding are long time cross country and track stars. They have many accolades so far in their careers, including being members of Seaholm’s 2012 state championship team. Now, each sister can add competing for a Division 1 university to their list of achievements.
“It’s nice to see the years of hard work and dedication and sacrifice come to fruition,” father Jim Wilberding said.
The three took part in national signing day Wednesday, February 6 in the Seaholm Media Center.
Mallory signed for Butler University, where she plans to attend their prestigious Physician’s Assistant Program while running cross country and track.
“I’m extremely excited to be given an opportunity for Butler University,” Mallory said at the signing. “It’s always been a dream of mine to run at a D1 school like Butler. Go Bulldogs!”
Aubrey committed to Michigan State University for cross country and track. Aubrey’s talents earned her a scholarship from MSU.
Tess will also be running cross country and track at another Big Ten school, University of Iowa. Tess is receiving scholarships from Iowa for both athletics and academics.
“I’m overwhelmed but I’m really excited to run for Iowa and thank you to everyone for the support,” Tess said.
Mother Nan Wilberding is proud of everything her daughters have accomplished.
“Eighth grade – I knew they were fast,” Nan Wilberding said. “I just didn’t know they’d run all the way to college.”
The NCAA told the Highlander there is no record of another set of triplets in Michigan ever committing to three different D1 schools, although this has happened on the national scale in women’s basketball and field hockey.
Their decisions may create some Wilberding vs. Wilberding cross country match ups and possible family rivalries. Michigan State and Iowa often face each other. The two often meet at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational and Big Ten Championship. Butler and Iowa have also faced each other in the past at the Toledo Interregional Bubble Buster.
For the three to meet in a competitive family reunion of sorts, it would have to take place at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship or NCAA National Championship.
Whether or not the sisters meet is yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain, Seaholm will miss these talented triplets and they look forward to seeing what they will do during their collegiate careers.
“It’s been a great four years with these girls. I’m so proud of them for going to these prestigious universities,” girl’s cross country and track head coach Jeff Devantier said. “It’s going to be tough to see them go.”
Editor’s Note: As of April 28, Mallory Wilberding has broken her commitment to Butler and will be attending Ohio State University in the fall.