The Tandon Twins
Shania and Rianna Tandon

The Tandon Twins, Shania and Rianna Tandon, began playing soccer at the age of 3 years old. Their parents, Anurag Tandon and Shikha Tandon, immediately realized that their children would be athletic.

Through their childhood years, Shania and Rianna tried different sports such as gymnastics, swimming, and volleyball. But the Tandon Twins always had a soft spot for soccer and basketball.

In her late elementary years, Rianna decided to focus on basketball, while Shania continued to play soccer and basketball. That would be the last time the twins played on different teams.

Shania and Rianna played for the travel basketball team, the M14 Hoops Training Academy.

In 2019, Shania raced in a youth track and field meet, for the first time ever in the summer before her 6th grade year. She surprisingly ran a 6:30 for the 1600 meter race. Her parents, who both ran in high school, saw the potential Shania had.

Shania’s early success in her first ever track appearance sparked Rianna’s interest in the sport and as the fall of 2019 arrived, the Tandon twins’ parents made sure they were registered to run cross country.

In the girls first cross country race, in 2019, Shania placed 4th and Rianna placed 6th. This race became extremely special in the athletic careers of both twins as their grandfather had attended this race. And it proved to be the beginning of extremely exceptional experiences for Shania and Rianna Tandon.

In the beginning of the winter in 2019, Shania played her last ever soccer game for the travel club team, BVB Academy. And she too continued to focus solely on travel basketball and her new development of love for the sport of running.

A few months later, the girls became clients with Trent Sanderson. Sanderson founded Team Prep USA, one of the most prestigious running programs in the country.

As the twins continued to compete in youth cross country meets racing the 3k, both of the girls continued bringing their times down and displaying large improvements as their season progressed.

As the year 2020 came, the virus of COVID-19 also came. This meant the cancellations of the girl’s 7th grade middle school cross country season, basketball season, and track and field season.

The seasons of club cross country, track and field, and basketball continued and in fall of 2020 cross country ranked up for the twins as they led their cross country club team, Chicago Elite, to gain the title of 2020 Cross Country Coaches National Champions. And in 2021 the Chicago Elite girls team placed 3rd overall in the Nation. Shania placed 5th in the Nation and Rianna placed 13th in the Nation.

The twins also ran in the Sundown Series Track Meet #2 in Arizona in the early spring of 2021. Shania placed 2nd and ran her first 3200m in a time of 11:30 and Rianna placed 4th and ran a time of 11:45. This meet was surrounded by some of the best high school runners at the time, this inspired the Tandon twins as they began 8th grade.

During the twins’ time in middle school in the 8th grade, they continued to play basketball, but it was clear Shania and Rianna would be focusing on running cross country and track and field in high school.

After a successful fall for both Tandon Twins in their 8th grade middle school fall season, Shania was titled the 8th grade Girls Naper Prairie Conference Champion and Rianna placed 3rd place overall.

Although the girls both were thrilled to have the opportunity to race track and field in 8th grade, Rianna broke a growth plate in her wrist, preventing her from racing that season.

Shania excelled during middle school track and field winning almost every race, and ultimately placed 2nd respectively in both the 800 meter and 1600 meter at the Naper Prairie Conference meet.

As high school began, the girls were already decorated athletes and knew they wanted to focus on running cross country and track in their futures. In order to race in high school, the twins knew they had to be committed and continue
trusting their coaches and parents.

Shania Tandon

Shania Tandon grew confident her freshman year in High School cross country as she won her first ever cross country race. She knew that she would need to improve in order to continue to back up the success she had in middle school and with the help of her coaches she was able to. Shania placed as the 5th place Varsity Girl in her high school’s well-known and competitive meet named The Naperville Twilight Invitational and this allowed her to be ready to do well going into her first ever high school championship season. Shania ended the championship season proud of her efforts with All-Conference, and All-Sectional honors and was only a few places short of placing as one of the All-State individuals of the 2022 Illinois Cross Country State Finals.

Shania’s freshman track and field season was also exciting as Shania raced faster than she ever had in her previous seasons. She ended her indoor season with one of her greatest accomplishments being crowned the champion of the Homewood-Flossmoor Indoor Invitational Varsity 3200 meter race. She also placed 4th place in her high sch0ol’s home meet The Gus Scott Invitational. Her personal bests for the season were 11:07 in the 3200 meter and 5:15 in the 1600 meter. Although she was excited by her first track and field season in high school, she wanted more and knew the potential she had, if she continued working hard.

Shania’s sophomore year of high school came with a renewed confidence as she already had experience in the high school cross country world. Shania placed 3rd at the Pleasant Valley Spartan Invitational in Iowa, a meet in which her entire girls high school team was present to cheer her on. Shania started the 2023 cross country championship season strong, by placing 3rd place at the Dupage Valley Conference meet. The sophomore unfortunately was faced with high fevers the days prior to the Regional meet and Sectional meet. She still raced with her teammates on race day of each championship meet. And although she was not 100% perfect, she and her team still qualified for the Illinois State meet. Shania raced well at the 2023 Illinois Cross Country State Finals and was awarded All-State honors (15th Place).

Rianna Tandon

As a cross-country freshman, Rianna began her season strong placing 5th place at her first ever high school cross country race. Additionally, Rianna placed 3rd overall at the Dupage Valley Conference Championships. This gave her confidence as she performed well during the rest of the championship season. She ultimately placed 56th at the Illinois Cross Country State Finals. Rianna finished the 2022 season with a 17:56 3-mile personal best.

Moving to track and field her freshman year, Rianna had excellent experiences. Although this was her very first track and field season, she handled it extremely well. Rianna competed in her primary events, the 1600 meter race and 3200 meter race, and occasionally the 800 meter race and 4×800 meter relay. Throughout changing conditions, Rianna tried new event strategies, both mentally and physically. Rianna ended her track season running 5:14 in the 1600m at the Sectional Championship and 11:18 in the 3200m. She went on to compete in the 4x800m race at the 2023 Illinois Track and Field State meet.

Rianna Tandon’s sophomore cross country season proved she took dramatic steps forward in terms of times and places, despite dealing with a calf and shin related injury. Rianna stepped up in times her teammates could not and she took on a verbal leadership role on her high school team by encouraging her teammates to always work hard. Rianna ended her 2o23 sophomore cross country season with All-Conference (4th Place), All-Region (4th Place), All-Section (6th Place), and All-State (22nd Place) honors. Her personal record in the 3-mile became a 17:34.

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