An hour before they would be competing against each other for the win in a key volleyball match, best friends Janelle Jaegel of Mount Shasta High and Karene Marshall of Weed High were laughing and telling funny stories about each other.

“A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same,” said writer Elbert Hubbard.

An hour before they would be competing against each other for the win in a key volleyball match, best friends Janelle Jaegel of Mount Shasta High and Karene Marshall of Weed High were laughing and telling funny stories about each other.

Competing the last several years for rival schools in volleyball, basketball and track has not driven even the smallest wedge in their friendship. “We’re basically sisters,” said Janelle. “We’re 100% ourselves with each other,” Karene said.

They are good friends who know each other’s strengths and weaknesses on the basketball court. “We’re super competitive people, especially with each other,” they said.

The girls say they are able to mentally switch into “game mode,” otherwise it would be too hard to focus. There are so many emotions, said Karene.

Despite being competitive with each other, they still congratulate and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Both have received many sports awards, including numerous all-league awards. Karene was last year’s league most valuable player in basketball, when Janelle was all-league for Mount Shasta’s league championship team. Their teams played two epic games against each other, including a regular season ending 32-31 Mount Shasta win at Weed that was decided by free throws with no time left on the clock.

Janelle has also been all-league in volleyball, cross country and track. Karene has also been all-league in volleyball.

The two were chosen as their respective school’s Homecoming queens this fall on back-to-back Friday nights.

As far as sports go, they’ve never been mad at each other. Janelle said basketball is competitive and intense between the schools, but the kids are friends with each other. Karene added that sometimes “school rivalry” shows up more in the fans. For the kids, she said, “Games are competitive, but once it’s over, it’s over.”

Now seniors in high school, the girls have been best friends for 10 years. In sixth, seventh, and eighth grades they started playing volleyball, basketball, track, and AAU basketball. Both girls are talented, competitive athletes. After playing against each other all year long, they enjoy playing on the same team for AAU.

Their friendship began in second grade when Janelle’s family moved from Arcata to Weed. On her first day in Weed, Janelle said she started knocking on her neighbors’ doors asking if they had any kids who could play. That’s when she first met Karene, who was dressed in a cowboy outfit.

They attended Weed Elementary, acted in a school play together, and liked to swing and just hang-out. Janelle told a story about the two of them swimming in a puddle in her flooded yard in the freezing cold rain.

They push each other’s buttons and joke that if they spend too much time together “things get ugly.”

“We fought all the time,” said Janelle. “Karene knows me too well, and she’ll call me on everything.”

“I think I know her better than she knows me,” said Karene, who says that Janelle never listens to her advice.

They describe themselves as Janelle being sentimental and Karene being sensible.

Their most epic fight happened at 8th grade graduation. It was over Janelle going to Mount Shasta High School instead of Weed. They stayed mad until they “gave each other the evil eye and then started laughing and couldn’t be mad anymore.” They said even when they want to be mad at each other, something happens and it’s over. They just can’t stay mad.

As freshmen and sophomores it was harder to get together even though Janelle still lived in Weed. “We had to figure it out,” they said. “Other people’s friendships end when they move, but we’ve always been good friends,” said Karene. “That’s why it’s good to play sports, because we get to see each other,” Janelle said. Janelle’s family moved to Mount Shasta her junior year.

Karene has played four years of high school volleyball, three years of track and basketball. She is planning on playing basketball again this year and maybe softball for the spring season.

Janelle has played four years of volleyball and cross-country and three years of basketball and track. She plans on playing basketball, running track and pole-vaulting again this year.

Their future plans will take them to different parts of the country. Karene is accepted to Palm Beach Atlantic University where she will be playing D-2 basketball on a partial scholarship while studying to become a pediatric oncology nurse.

Janelle plans to study optometry and is looking at Pepperdine, Santa Barbara, University of Montana or Tennessee. Tennessee is on the list because she loves country. They both are obsessed with country music.

Janelle and Karene are not too worried about going to college so far away from each other. They’re excited and say they’ve been through too much and have so “much stuff on each other” that their friendship will stay strong regardless of the distance.