Needless to say, the Coletti quadruplets are a microcosm of that competition.
The four children of Buckhead residents Phil and Kathy Coletti — each of them high school seniors — are equally divided among the two schools, with John and Amelia attending Lovett and Michael and Mary Elizabeth at Westminster.
Three of the four quadruplets play sports at their respective schools, with John a football player and Amelia a member of the cross country team at Lovett and Michael on the golf squad at Westminster. Mary Elizabeth once ran cross country at Westminster, but is now a part of the school’s pep squad.
While the four kids share the same birthday, they are not identical quadruplets and have different personalities and interests, according to their mother.
“I don’t even look at them as quadruplets — they are four kids who happened to be born at the same time,” Kathy said. “They have different talents, abilities and interests. It’s been a good experience. It’s a wonderful thing for us.”
The quadruplets went to the same school until the fifth grade — when all four kids were accepted into both Westminster and Lovett. John and Amelia decided to go to Lovett, while Michael and Mary Elizabeth chose Westminster.
It has been a good experience for Amelia, who has made friends at Westminster as well as Lovett.
“I really like us being split up,” Amelia said. “John and I are doing our own things and Michael and Mary Elizabeth are doing theirs. I’ve gotten to know some people at Westminster and become friends with them, so that’s been great.”
There is some of the usual competitiveness among the quadruplets, which is usually found among siblings — mostly on the academic side — though the four are generally very supportive of each other.
“We can get pretty competitive with grades,” John said. “We used to be more competitive with sports, but it’s more with grades now. But, we support each other and help each other.”
John has certainly made his mark on the football field at Lovett, where he is a middle linebacker and played a key role in the Lions’ drive to the Class AA state semifinals in both 2009 and ’10.
Amelia is in her second year on the Lovett cross country team, with her best time in the 5K (3.1-mile) distance 21 minutes, 30 seconds.
“It’s very challenging,” Amelia said. “I like to push myself and see how good I can get.”
Mary Elizabeth got a first-hand look at Amelia’s running ability during her time on the Westminster cross country team when the two sisters raced against each other last year.
“She was faster than I was,” Mary Elizabeth said. “It was pretty even at first and then she pushed past me.”
Golf is the sport for Michael, who plays for Westminster and also participates in junior tournaments during the summer.
“I’ve been playing since my freshman year,” Michael said. “It’s always a challenge.”
No longer on the Westminster cross country team, Mary Elizabeth is now the lone non-athlete among the quadruplets.
However, she provides plenty of support for Westminster’s football team on Friday night as a member of the school’s pep club.
The Colettis’ Lovett-Westminster sibling rivalry takes on a higher level of intensity this week as the two schools face off on the football field on Friday.
It’s a week that John, who will be taking the field for Lovett, looks forward to.
“It’s usually a fun week,” John said. “It can get intense, but it’s usually a lot of fun.”
It’s a big week as well for Kathy, who will set aside her usual neutrality to root for John and his Lovett teammates.
“It’s always exciting,” she said. Ultimately, I hope Lovett wins, because of John, but in golf, I root for Westminster, because of Michael. Otherwise, I’m totally neutral. We have friends from both Westminster and Lovett and we love both schools.”
With graduation coming up this spring, the quadruplets will most likely be going their separate ways as they move on to college.
All four students are still in the process of deciding their collegiate destination.
John is looking to continue his football career at the next level, with Princeton and Georgetown among the candidates. Michael, who won’t be playing golf collegiately, is considering Virginia and Georgetown.
For Kathy, things won’t be the same once her quadruplets graduate from high school and leave the nest.
“It is interesting,” she said. “Every stage has been an intense roller coaster and that intensity is going to dissipate when they go to college. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m so proud of them and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next.”