Sisters by chance, teammates by choice


Sophia Beckmann

Isabella Knopfel, sophomore, and Olivia Knopfel, senior, pose after the Turkey Day game.

6:30 a.m.: Isabella Knopfel’s, sophomore, alarm goes off.
7 a.m.: Olivia Knopfel’s, senior, alarm goes off.
7:20 a.m.: Isabella eats oatmeal or cereal for breakfast, and goes to school.
7:20 a.m.: Olivia eats cereal (or a protein bar depending on time) for breakfast, and goes to school

Sophia Beckmann
Sisters, Isabella Knopfel, far left, and Olivia Knopfel, third from left, perform at the Turkey Day game.

9:43 a.m.: Isabella goes to band.
9:43 a.m.: Olivia goes to band.

3 p.m.: Isabella goes pommie to practice.
3 p.m.: Olivia goes to pommie practice.
5 p.m.: Isabella walks home from practice with Olivia.
5 p.m.: Olivia walks home from practice with Isabella.
12:00 a.m.: Isabella goes to bed after doing homework.
12:00 a.m.: Olivia goes to bed after doing homework.

Almost identical schedules? Yes, but that’s not all. Isabella and Olivia are also currently the only sisters on the KHS varsity dance team. The sisters point out numerous benefits of being on the same squad, including convenience.

“[Seeing each other a lot] is nice because she helps remind me what I need to bring,” Isabella said. “We can help review the dance with each other if we forget something.”

Convenience is not the only benefit of sisters being on the same squad. Katie Bekebrede, dance team coach, said this rare sister duo only enhances their pommie experience.

“I think every person is different, but I think for Olivia and Isabella [having a sister on the team] only makes [pommies] an even greater experience,” Bekebrede said. “I think they are sisters, and sisters have “sister things.” But I do think that they are friends, and value each other’s company.”

[Being on the same team] has brought us closer together. We talk a lot, we help each other out, and we work as a team.”

— Olivia Knopfel

Olivia agrees that they value each other’s company. She noted the friendship they have formed through both being pommies.

“I love having someone doing the same things that I am doing,” Olivia said. “[Being on the same team] has brought us closer together. We talk a lot, we help each other out, and we work as a team.”

Isabella said that another benefit of Olivia being a pommie was the motivation to try out for the team. Both sisters took dance classes at the Dance Center of Kirkwood. Olivia used this dance experience to try out for the dance team her 8th grade year. Not only did Olivia make the team, but she also paved the way for Isabella.

“[Olivia has] always been a really good sister, I’ve always wanted to be like her. She was doing the dance team, and that made me want to do it,” Isabella said. “It seemed really fun. I wonder if I would have seen the opportunity to do it in 8th grade if it wasn’t for her.”

Bekebrede, Isabella, Olivia, and Patty Knopfel, the sister’s mom, all said that the sisters have similarities beyond dancing. One of these includes their looks.

“A lot of people will ask if we are twins,” Olivia said. “Sometimes for performances, we both keep our hair curly, and we’re the only ones on the team that have curly hair. So I think [being sisters] is really noticeable.”

Sophia Beckmann
Isabella Knopfel and Olivia Knopfel dance near each other.

Another similarity they all pointed out was their personalities. They said Isabella and Olivia are both kind, helpful and responsible. Despite these similarities, they said they also have their differences.

“[Isabella] has more of a type-A personality,” Olivia said. “She’s very hard-working, constantly doing things, and is more worried about time management. I’m a little more relaxed, and a little bit more of a procrastinator.”

Isabella and Olivia also both play the clarinet for the KHS Pioneer Pride Marching Band. Patty Knopfel, Isabella and Olivia’s mom, said she notices their close relationship at home. She said on many evenings they practice together.

“Right before their Turkey Day pep rally performance, they were constantly practicing at home, and they would have me watch it,” Patty said. “It just hit me, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, this will be the last year I get to see this’ because Olivia is a senior. It’s so much fun to watch them perform together. Even with band, they will play songs together.”

Soon Olivia will graduate, and they will no longer be on the same team. However, Patty has realized one thing that won’t change. She said she realized the bond the sister’s have formed through being teammates.

“[If they had not both been pommies] I think they would still be close, but not as close,” Patty said. “They are just naturally closer from doing the same activities; they’ll come home and talk about what happened at practice because they were both there together and saw it. I think they would still be close, but they wouldn’t have that common connection.”