Ivy League is next step for Harvard-Westlake twins

Ivy League is next step for Harvard-Westlake twins
Twins Alex Copeland, left, and Shea Copeland. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

There are a few ways to get your parents to smile. Pick up your dirty clothes off the floor. Score 40 points in a basketball game. Set a school record in the 100 meters. Or even better -- receive an acceptance letter to an Ivy League school.

Twins Alex and Shea Copeland from Studio City Harvard-Westlake have made their mom and dad, Erin and Trent, more than ecstatic. Not since the Collins twins, Jason and Jarron, were hanging out on Harvard-Westlake's campus in the late 1990s have the Wolverines had twins performing as well as the Copelands.


Alex, a 6-foot-3 senior guard headed to Yale, is averaging 25.7 points per game. Shea, a senior track standout headed to Princeton, is the school record holder in the girls' 100 meters.

It's tough enough to have one teenager in a household admitted to the Ivy League, but to have two is something remarkable.

"I don't know what the blueprint is for kids having a successful life, but you want them to be productive and be good citizens," said their father, Trent. "We've always stressed: be good people, be good students and do all you can athletically for your team."

He and his wife are lawyers.

What the Copeland twins have learned with two lawyers in the house is, "We don't win too many arguments," Alex said.

There isn't a sibling rivalry, except for perhaps disagreement over who has the tougher sport.

"We don't compete that much," Alex said. "We're both genuinely happy for each other in almost everything we do."

Said Shea: "I'm his biggest fan; he's my biggest fan. People are like, 'Oh, how much do you fight?' We really don't. We get along and always have."

They share a car, with Alex doing most of the driving in the morning to school. They've been in a couple of classes together.

"I don't think the teacher knew we were twins for a couple days," Alex said.

"We'd joke with each other to see if he would catch on," Shea said.

Alex, strong in math and science, has been helped by Shea, strong in English and writing. Each had to learn time management early on to juggle the responsibilities of sports and academics.

"I was on varsity as a freshman and she was as well," Alex said. "You have to be really thoughtful in everything you do. We had to mature a little earlier."

Alex's development as a basketball player has resulted in steady improvement. This season, asked to take on a bigger scoring role, he has delivered with games of 40 points against Alemany and 37 against University. Shea has run a 12.04 100 meters and hopes to add a school record in the 200.


If she raced her brother, she's confident she'd win, though Alex insists, "I think I can get her in 30 or 40 meters."

Lots of teenagers like to tune out their parents, but the Copeland twins admit some of the things they heard growing up stuck with them.

"Our parents, since we were young, told us if we work hard, we can do a lot of great things," Alex said.

Added Shea: "Amazing things can come from anything if you work hard at it."

Since their father is a criminal defense lawyer, the Copelands know who to call when in trouble, right?

"He always tells us if something happens, don't call him because he's not going to get us out of it," Alex said.

Since Shea wants to be the next lawyer in the family, Alex better be nice to his Ivy League sister who's three minutes older.

"She's definitely going to have to support Yale basketball and support Princeton in everything else and I'll definitely be repping Princeton track," Alex said.

Both are shopping for warm clothing. Such is life in the Ivy League coming soon.

Twitter: @LATSondheimer