BEMIDJI -- True to his nature, Silas Hess turned to Scripture to describe his relationship with his twin brother, Ben.

“One of my favorite Bible verses is Ecclesiastes 4:9,” he said. “‘Two are better than one, for they can help each other succeed.’ That really sums up our lives and our careers as athletes: We’ve really pushed each other.”

Silas was named Bemidji High School’s Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, but, if you ask him, Ben was more than worthy in his own right.

“He’s probably more deserving of this award than I am,” Silas said. “Ben has pushed me to a whole nother level. I completely believe that, if I did not have Ben as my twin brother, I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today. … Ben has had a huge impact on my career.”

The tandem rose through the ranks together, starting way back at third doubles for one tennis quadrangular during eighth-grade year. Since, they’ve each become key parts of the soccer, basketball and tennis programs at BHS.

“He definitely deserved the award,” Ben said of Silas. “He’s a great athlete. What I definitely respect most about him is that he competes at 100% all the time and doesn’t care, really, what other people think. He’s going to get after it. … He wants the most out of not just himself, but everyone around him. I really respect that side of him when he’s competing.”

Ben (4) and Silas (12) Hess get a breather on the bench against Hermantown on Feb. 11 at the BHS Gymnasium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Ben (4) and Silas (12) Hess get a breather on the bench against Hermantown on Feb. 11 at the BHS Gymnasium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

A few shining moments in particular stick out to Silas. First was the 2018 Class A state semifinal game, a 3-1 Lumberjack win in which he had a goal and two assists to launch the program into its first state title game. The second moment came less than five months later, when the boys basketball team snapped a 34-year state tournament drought with the 2019 Section 8-3A championship.

Silas has also etched his name into the record books as the boys soccer program’s all-time leader in points (122) and assists (54) en route to becoming the school’s first Mr. Soccer finalist in 2019.

But don’t remember him for any of that.

“I’m very blessed and honored to receive this award,” Silas said, “but if people just think of me as the athlete of the year and forget all the other things I stand for -- the kind of person I am -- I guess I’m not as excited about it.”

More than anything, Silas prides himself on boldly sharing his faith and pushing his teammates to becoming better athletes. The latter has been a two-way street, too.

“All my teammates have pushed me throughout the years, and I’m so grateful for them. But most of all, I’d say (my motivation) is my brother,” he said, laughing. “You can’t take a day off when your twin brother is Ben Hess.”

“We hold each other to high standards,” Ben added. “A big part of my success and his success is pushing each other. … It helps us compete with everything we’ve got.”

Silas will leave behind a love for high school athletics, forged through plenty of lessons that taught him what it takes to succeed. Undoubtedly, he was a quick study.

“You always work to represent at the varsity level,” Silas said. “Once you get there, you want to do your best and you want to make your community proud.”