Pushing each other to sports success since kindergarten

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Washington, sick. (WMBD/WYZZ) — This is the story of lifelong friendships strengthened through sports.

“When I think about Mitch, he’s my childhood best friend,” said Claire McDougall, a former Washington High sports star. “We were together all the time. We were outside playing with Legos and just having fun.

McDougall is a former All-State basketball player for the Panthers. Her childhood best friend, Mitch Coughlon, was a former all-state football player from Washington.

They have been neighbors since childhood, played together almost every day, and were teammates on the youth football team and elementary school basketball team. That same year, they were inseparable classmates at St. Patrick’s Catholic School every year until they entered high school.

“We’re in the same class, same homework, same teacher, same everything at St. Pat’s,” Coughlon said. “. It brought us closer. It was fun growing with her.”

They think college will drive them apart. They are recruited in large numbers.

But without mutual consultation, both opted to play Bradley. Claire received a basketball scholarship and Mitch a football scholarship.

Two Division I athletes, from the same community and same elementary school.

“We’re living out our dream of being a varsity athlete at the same university,” Coughlan said. “It’s been a really cool experience. It’s definitely a dream come true.”

They admit they’ve been pushing each other since playing basketball in the driveway, soccer in the yard, and swimming in the same pool.

And they’re clearly still competitive.

“I’m definitely going to beat him in basketball,” McDougal said with a laugh. “I don’t know if he’ll say that. I’ll take it. He can play football. I’ll get a basketball.”

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