One Hound Family
Sibling athletes call Loyola home
Daraun Gray was at high school in the final month of his senior year when a piece of mail arrived that was important enough to prompt a call from home.
“My mom called me and said, ‘The decision’s in for Loyola,’” Gray recalled. “We were all on the edge, and we opened it and it said, ‘Congratulations—Class of 2023.’ My dad was crying, my mom was crying.”
The next phone call was to Daraun’s older sister, Alexis Gray, now a senior on Loyola’s women’s basketball team.
She was in her room, and she was going crazy," he said. “All her roommates were going crazy.
This year Daraun is a first-year student on the men’s basketball team. He and Alexis are one of five sets of siblings competing for Greyhounds athletics this season.
Athletic Director Donna Woodruff has promoted the “One ’Hound Family” concept since arriving at Loyola two years ago. While the idea is to spotlight the bond among everyone involved in Greyhounds athletics, there is a literal component to it as well.
“I feel like it couldn’t ring truer for me being here with Jimmy,” said senior Anne Hayburn, whose younger brother joined her on the Loyola swimming team this past year. “It just feels like it speaks to how inclusive and how welcoming Loyola is in general to everyone.”
The Hayburns are a family of swimmers, and the values that Loyola exemplifies appealed to Anne (the oldest of five) when she selected her college. She didn’t want to pressure her brother to make the same choice, but she was hopeful he would.
Jimmy Hayburn considered Army, Navy, Georgetown, and Yale before opting for Loyola, not far from his Annapolis, Md., home. He also saw how much his friend and former Greyhounds lacrosse player Pat Spencer, ’19, enjoyed his time at Loyola. (In another family connection, Spencer’s younger brother Cam is a first-year student on the Greyhounds men’s basketball team.)
Now a sophomore and a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, Jimmy Hayburn considers the H2Ounds Invitational in 2018 as one of his most cherished college memories. Both he and Anne set school records in the same event.
For both of us to break the school record in the 50 butterfly together, it was just a really amazing experience.
Said Jimmy Hayburn. “I always dreamed of breaking a record at the Division I level, and to do it right next to my sister in the same event... it was perfect.”
For a parent, having multiple children compete at the same school offers some logistical conveniences. More important, though, is that Loyola offers an environment where student-athletes can thrive.
That’s what Katie Olmstead has found with her three children. Aidan Olmstead is entering his junior year as a member of the men’s lacrosse team, and he encouraged his twin sisters, Logan and Riley, to pursue lacrosse at Loyola as well. They will play as members of the Greyhounds women’s lacrosse team this spring.
“We’ve watched how, as a community, they rally around each other, and that’s what you want as a parent,” Katie Olmstead said. “You almost expect each child to have a different experience, and we see that playing out. Everyone has their own unique experience, but fundamentally, it’s the same.”
Olmstead also appreciated when coaches made it a point to thank her for trusting her children with them. Of course, having siblings already in place only adds to the strong support network at Loyola.
The basketball-playing Grays grew up an hour from campus in Clarksburg, Md., and Daraun was a regular at Alexis’s games during the past three years. This gave him a chance to see Loyola’s campus environment for himself, and it helped steer him to become a Greyhound—much to his sister’s delight.
“I was trying to get him to come here and think about the school, but then I also wanted him to make his own decision just in case he didn’t like the fact we were at school together,” Alexis Gray said. “I didn’t want it to be because I was pushing him to go here. I wanted it to be a personal decision for him.”
The two have crossed paths during their first semester on campus together, especially with the basketball locker rooms just down the hall from each other. When Alexis celebrated her birthday, Daraun swung by her apartment with her birthday present.
On the flip side, having an older sister at the same school provides at least one perk not every first-year student gets to enjoy.
It helps that she has her car on campus, since I can’t have a car,” Daraun said with a laugh. “That does help a lot.
Families are often tight-knit, and so is the community at Loyola. Combining family with Loyola makes sense, then, especially to these sibling athletes, of which the younger ones saw their older brothers and sisters enjoy their time as Greyhounds—both in competition and in the classroom.
“You get that family aspect because the school is relatively small, and you pretty much know everyone around,” Alexis Gray said. “Then through athletics, you know pretty much all the student-athletes. Being part of a close-knit group is just part of the experience here, in both athletics and the school itself. I think that helps a lot and helps with the bond that my brother and I have—we’ve definitely become closer just from being on campus together.”