Home Sports Sondheimer: McRae siblings one-up each other on way to Dartmouth

Sondheimer: McRae siblings one-up each other on way to Dartmouth

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Fairfax men's basketball player Romello McRae poses for a photo on Dec. 14, 2022.

On Mother’s Day, Ebony Robinson felt like the luckiest mom in the world.

His oldest son, Robert McRae III, a former Fairfax basketball player, will graduate next month from Dartmouth. Her daughter Elyjah, a former Fairfax volleyball player, is a junior at an Ivy League university. And the baby, Romello, who played football and basketball at Fairfax, chose the same school after turning down Harvard.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Robinson said of three kids attending the same school in New Hampshire. “I never thought about it. I just didn’t do it.”

For those who worry about sibling rivalries, understand that the McRae children motivated each other in positive ways by trying to outdo each other.

“It was more about competing within ourselves,” Romello said. ”My brother was the star athlete in the family. When my sister went to high school, she made it a goal to get better grades than my brother. By going to Fairfax, he had a legacy to fulfill.”

The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Romello played basketball for the Lions and then joined the football team last season for the playoffs after his The mother finally relented and let him play.. He was a ball boy for 10 weeks until Robinson relented.

“I expected him to be on the sidelines for just one game,” he said. “They were supposed to lose in the playoffs.”

Romello McRae played basketball at Fairfax and football during the playoffs last fall. (Luca Evans/Los Angeles Times)

McRae caught a touchdown pass in the first playoff game and Fairfax ended up winning the City Section Division II championship. He has the best GPA of his brothers with a 4.3 and earned a doors scholarship that will pay your college tuition.

“What I’ve learned is that healthy competition is always a good thing,” he said. “We have always congratulated ourselves on our successes, but we always wanted to be the best.”

Dartmouth's Robert McRae III (23) and Romeo Myrthil (20) walk onto the court during a game against Duke.

Dartmouth’s Robert McRae III (23) and Romeo Myrthil (20) walk onto the court during the second half of a game against Duke last season. (Ben McKeown/Associated Press)

Robert was an All-City basketball player and played on the Lions’ City championship team in 2019. He played four years at Dartmouth. Romello won a City basketball title in 2022, but will likely try to make the Dartmouth soccer team with his mother’s blessing.

“I have accepted it. Go ahead and try it,” she said.

Robinson, who works with at-risk youth, has been a single father with a no-excuses attitude.

“Being a single mother, especially having two kids, I didn’t have a lot of room for nonsense,” she said. “I became very strict. I need you to do what I’m asking you to do. “I don’t have the mental space to be able to handle anything else.”

He made it clear what was most important in his family.

“Although kids would say I’m definitely strict, I always show them unconditional love,” she said. “That love taught them to love each other the same way. With unconditional love, all they can do is admire each other for their strength and not hate one another’s success.”

Having three children reach the Ivy League is something few in the family imagined until Robert heard from a Princeton recruiter in high school, when Mom’s goal was, “I just want to get you through school because I can’t.” She pays for it.”

Robert, 22, is deciding whether to pursue a master’s degree after graduating next month or head to Wall Street to work. Elyjah, 21, is majoring in anthropology. Romello, 17, wants to be an engineer and hopes to borrow his brother’s warm jackets to brave the New Hampshire winter. Mom will be home with the last of her children, her 8-year-old daughter Ellyott.

“I’m a proud mom,” she said.

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This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.

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