Double Up: Twins Lean On Family Support, Each Other
At the end of the Pinecrest girls’ first basketball game of the new season, members of the team and the cheerleaders will form columns for the boys’ basketball players to run through as they take the court.
As she has for the previous two varsity seasons, Felicia Painter will be there to encourage her brother Frankie.
“I’ll give him a high-five, and we always make eye contact,” she says.“It’s a get-the-job-done thing.”
Felicia and Frankie Painter are tall, talented, tenacious in all of their pursuits, best friends — and they lead. They’ve made a unique mark on Pinecrest High School with their year-round participation in sports and excellence as students.
And they are twins. Felicia led the way into the world, by four hours, but it doesn’t matter who entered the world first.
“We’re really close,” Felicia says. “With twins I think it’s different than just a brother or a sister because I do think you have more of a connection. We always go to each other first. We’re best friends and we’ve always been that way.”
And they have been close in their accomplishments — providing encouragement for each other with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry mixed in.
Felicia is a three-time co-captain of the Patriot volleyball team that just completed its most successful season since 2004, finishing with a record of 26-4. The 6-foot middle blocker has been selected to the all-conference team three times.
A strong server and good passer, she has almost 900 kills and 300 blocks for her career.
“She’s someone you can count on,” volleyball coach Barbara Foxx says. “She’s a good athlete, plays smart, and she’s very consistent. She’s always giving you all she has.”
Felicia has also been a four-year starter in basketball, posting double-figure averages in points and rebounds a year ago when she was a co-captain and earned all-conference honors for the second time. In a game against North Moore she scored 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Frankie is a 6-3, 215-pound outside linebacker and punter for the football team, earning all-league honors a year ago. One of the leaders on the team in tackles, he is a playmaker who competes at a very high level.
He was one of the football co-captains this season and a co-captain of the Patriot basketball team as a junior.
“He lays it on the line,” Patriot defensive coordinator Jason Sparks says. “They say make every play like it’s your last. That’s what he does.”
From Steeler Country
The Pittsburgh area natives, and lifelong Steeler fans, moved to Pinehurst with their parents, Frank and Paula, at the age of 6. One of the first people to coach the twins in organized sports was Matt Reimer, the father of Patriot football and baseball player Aaron Reimer.
“One day Aaron came home and told me, ‘I’ve got another Steeler fan in my class,’” Matt Reimer recalls. “I’m originally from Pittsburgh, and it turns out their father Frank lived about two miles away, but went to a different high school.”
Reimer coached Felicia on a co-ed basketball team and then later both on a machine pitch baseball team. He recalls Felicia playing second base and Frankie catching.
“There weren’t many girls playing baseball,” Reimer says. “They were both pretty good and great kids.”
By the time they got to middle school, the Painters were involved in multiple sports, including playing on several traveling teams. Felicia played with current Pinecrest volleyball and basketball teammates Keegan Lynch, Megan Thomas and Janea Williams from an early age.
“At the sports awards, all four of us would have four medals and Frankie would too,” Felicia recalls. “It was funny. It was 2008 when Michael Phelps won all those medals (eight), so I would take Frankie’s and say, ‘Oh, Michael Phelps.’”
Hitting their Strides
Felicia’s most intense early sports experiences came as a member of an AAU basketball team coached by Chuck Oxendine.
“He was the first coach, I guess, that recognized my talent and pushed me hard,” she says. “And he kind of pushed me to be a leader at an early age.”
Frankie started playing football at age 10 as a member of the Southern Pines Optimist Bears. Athletics began getting more serious for him when Chris Metzger became the head football coach at Pinecrest in 2007 and got the middle school kids involved in offseason workouts.
A strong family support system has helped the twins achieve a balance between academics and athletics while juggling a daunting schedule of activities.
Neither Frank nor Paula boast the athletic achievements of their children. Grandparents Paul and Denise Krise, who moved to Pinehurst before the Painters, rarely miss a home or away game.
“My mom was a cheerleader and loved to play softball,” Felicia says. “My father was in track. I wish I was as fast as him. They’re both really supportive. Any decision we make, they’re 100 percent behind us.”
Before retiring, the Krises were postmasters in Maxton and Pinehurst, respectively.
“My grandpa always pushes us.” Felicia says. “Everything we do, ‘You can do better, you can do better.’ He’d have us do pushups and situps at his house. He loves us so much, he just wants the best for us.
“He always guides us when it comes to sports. We need him to push us. He always has good advice about everything not just sports.”
Frankie says, “My grandfather was my main influence to play sports. He’ll relay all my stats and tell me what plays I missed, have little notes and pick out the little things that separate me from going to a DI or a DII school.
“After a loss there’s probably a little bigger list than normal. I’ll go, ‘OK, Pap, thanks.’ But you go home later and you think, wow, thank you. He’s right about everything.
“My dad always tells me I want you to have it better than I had. He wants me to build on it every day.”
A trip home from school often includes a dinner stop with the grandparents.
“Denise and I were kids when we got married,” Paul Krise says. “And we just followed the kids. All we do is chase sports and chase kids. We have two more coming up that are 7 and 8 living in Charlotte. We plan to follow them too.”
Frank Painter, the father says, “We’re very fortunate to have the family be so close, tight-knit. Most of the time, not always, we’re on the same page.”
Felicia embraces the leadership role that she first took on as a sophomore captain in basketball. She credits freshman teammate Candice Seagraves with providing an example of how to be one.
“She played the same position as I did and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s so good.’ But she made me feel so welcome and she was always positive.
“I love being a leader and I think it comes naturally to me.”
Frankie was a player whose role for most of last season was to give the basketball team a lift off the bench. Coach Andrew Lacey talked about the qualities that led the strong defending and rebounding forward to be voted a co-captain.
“Frankie was unanimously selected by the players,” Lacey says. “I think it has a lot to do with how he carries himself on and off the court as well as the classroom. His peers respect him.
“As a coach, he does what he’s supposed to do and does it with a degree of excellence that’s beyond what you expect.”
Metzger says, “Frankie is the total package as a leader. He’s verbal and he’s action. You’re talking about a kid that comes along once in a lifetime. Mr. and Mrs. Painter have done an unbelievable job.”
Counter to the current trend toward youngsters specializing in a sport or two, the Painters have provided a good advertisement for going the more traditional way.
In addition to volleyball and basketball, Felicia made the varsity softball team as a freshman, was a goalkeeper on the junior varsity soccer team as a sophomore and competed in the high jump for the track team as a junior.
There have been times after a Friday basketball game that she hopped into the car and headed for an out-of-town volleyball match with her Junior Olympic squad. Frankie played baseball as a freshman and was also a member of the track team last spring.
“I remember my freshman year people always talked about time management and I thought it can’t be that hard,” Felicia says. “Then with four varsity sports I thought, holy cow, you really have to know what you are doing.
“It’s definitely tough with AP classes. When am I going to write this paper? When am I going to read this book. I have to do my math homework. You find a way to get it done.
“I think being busy is easier for me. I was going to take last spring off and felt kind of bored so I did track. If I play volleyball next year (in college) I’ll have an offseason and don’t know what I’ll do.”
“Deep breath, back spin, dribble, dribble, dribble, deep breath again, follow through and hope, pray for that swish,” Felicia says of her routine at the charity stripe that led to a free-throw shooting percentage of 82 last season.
She acknowledges there is a little bit of competition in the one sport they have in common.
“I’ll tell him, ‘I was 12-for-12, how about you?” she recalls teasing. “He’s like, 3-for-4 and I’ll say, ‘75 percent Frankie, I was 100.’
“He works really hard and he kind of motivates me to work hard as well. He’s just an awesome brother. I just love him.”
Frankie says, “I’m pretty sure there is a secret rivalry with us. The great thing is, I can talk to her about something and she’ll give me her opinion and I’ll give her my opinion. It’s nice to have someone there for you all the time.”
It is a good bond according to junior Colton Daymude, who plays alongside Frankie on the football field, and is a good friend of both.
“They’re honest kids,” he says. “They’re excellent on the field and good kids to be around.”
Felicia wants to play volleyball in college. Her career path is to become a physicians’ assistant (PA). Frankie hasn’t decided upon a career, but does plan to play football at the next level.
Frankie recalls the eeriness of his sister having a stomach ache at the same time he was having his appendix removed when they were in middle school.
“I don’t know about the twin-telepathy thing,” Felicia says. “No, we can’t read each other’s minds. But when something is wrong, you do kind of know. It’s a connection, I guess.”
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