GROTON -- Best friends is a term that is thrown around loosely in high schools all across the country, but a pair of multisport athletes from Groton-Dunstable High School can boast that they truly are.
Crusaders' hockey, soccer and baseball standouts Michael Keating and Adam Kmetz have known each other long before the three state titles (2011, and 2012 soccer and 2012 Hockey) they captured as members of the Crusaders' athletics program.
Standing in the lobby of the Groton School rink before practice Friday, Kmetz and Keating reflected on how their friendship blossomed. It all started in third grade, when the duo met at a summer soccer camp and discovered that they shared the same interests. Kmetz and Keating were in the same drill group at the camp. Little did they know the fun they had in youth sports would translate into success at the varsity level.
"Third-grade soccer tryouts," said the pair in unison with Cheshire cat-like grins, when asked about how they met. "We were in the same group, and found out that we liked the same sports, said Keating. "We made the all-star team for baseball and then we were in hockey together. It just kind of grew after that."
It was not long before their "bromance" was born. When yearbook superlatives were announced last Monday, it came as no surprise to anyone that Kmetz and Keating received the "best friend" honors. First year hockey head coach Phil Rowley feels that the tandem's close friendship off the ice is beneficial to the rest of the Crusaders' team.
"Their friendship is almost like a marriage," said Rowley. "The wife always knows what the husband is supposed to be doing and vice-versa. They seem to feed off each other without saying very much. They are very supportive of one another."
Keating and Kmetz have worn the "C" on their uniforms in both soccer and hockey, and to Keating it's very special sharing that duty with his close friend. As captains, assistant coach Jeff March summed up the pair's locker-room and on-ice presence.
"In the locker room, and on the ice they're always very supportive off all the team's players," said March. "They go out of their way to include everybody, including the younger guys. They're right there talking with the guys and supporting them."
In the summer of 2010, while the pair were about to turn sophomores, they took a mission trip with their Community Christian Development program to Pennsylvania. While there, they spent a week with an impoverished family painting and re-siding homes in the neighborhood.
With Kmetz and Keating sharing the same ice, the Crusaders hockey team is an astounding 59-13-5 over three-plus seasons. If that number isn't enough, on the pitch their teams own a 63-11-15 record over four seasons. Losing never feels good, but Kmetz feels that sometimes a loss is the potion for a good reality check.
"I know after winning the state championship in soccer and now hockey, there is always a cockiness you get," said Kmetz. "I know for soccer it took us that one loss to make us realize you can't just run over everyone."
Whether it be frolicking around a Cape Cod golf course in torrential downpours or bringing more hardware to the trophy cases at Groton-Dunstable High School, Kmetz and Keating will be together having a grand ol' time, just like they always have.