Siblings sling for Kent State


The Crabtree brothers. Photo by Matthew Vern Bliss.

Daniel Staimpel

Two of Kent State’s track and field throwers have something in common other than the events they compete in. Senior Aaron Crabtree and sophomore Bo Crabtree aren’t just teammates.

They’re family.

The Crabtree brothers, who are from Lucasville, Ohio, a small town in southern Ohio, threw together at Valley High School.

Aaron Crabtree, a justice studies major, originally threw for Ohio State but decided to transfer to Kent.

“I transferred to Kent because I wanted to throw with my brother,” Aaron Crabtree said. “He’s been real good support for me.”

Bo Crabtree, an early childhood education major, didn’t mind his older brother’s decision to transfer but embraced it.

“He’s two years older than me,” said Bo Crabtree. “He pushed me from freshman year to summer.”

The brothers live together with another track teammate. The biggest problem they face is the cost of food. The brothers estimated that during a day, they each consume over 4,000 calories.

“We go through about five gallons of milk a week,” Aaron Crabtree said. “Our first year, we had the biggest food plan you could get, and we ran out of money before the semester was out.”

They need all the energy they can get with their busy lives as student–athletes. Both brothers throw weight for the indoor track and field team, and Aaron Crabtree also competes in the shot put.

The Crabtree brothers consistently throw well for the team, with both brothers averaging about a third-place finish in their events this year. Aaron Crabtree has also won the shot put once.

“You can always count on them. Especially in the bigger meets,” said Nathan Fanger, track and field throwing coach.

Freshman thrower Matthias Tayala agrees with his coach.

“Their consistency helps us mentally,” Tayala said. “We know they have our backs. If they don’t perform as well, we have theirs.”

Tayala, a sports administration major, said their leadership is just as important of a contribution to the team as their performances.

“Bo was my training partner in the fall, and he pushes me,” Tayala said. “With Bo training with me and Aaron in the background doing his thing, we push ourselves harder. Aaron is the strongest person I’ve seen.”

“Aaron is more of a leader,” said Fanger. “Bo is finding his niche. They lead not just on the field but in the weight room. Weight room is crucial because it focuses on the physical aspect.”

Despite a full schedule of track, training and school, Aaron and Bo Crabtree are also active members in a Christian athlete organization.

“With the free time we do find, we spend it working with Athletes in Action, an organization for athletes to spread the word of Jesus,” Bo Crabtree said.

Aaron and Bo Crabtree said through this organization they help others, such as volunteering at soup kitchens and elementary schools and passing out meals to people in need.

“We’re here for a greater purpose,” Bo Crabtree said. “Not just for ourselves.”

“It personifies who they are— Christian athletes,” Fanger said. “Your Christian faith determines how you act and more importantly how you react.”

The Crabtree brothers don’t take all the credit for what they have achieved.

“I give thanks to God for the talent he has given us,” Bo Crabtree said. “I thank our high school coach and parents who support us and made sacrifices for us.”

Contact Daniel Staimpel at [email protected].