Kelsey Bogdan and Brooke Istvan once were best friends while playing sports for Clarendon Hills Middle School.
But after going their separate ways in high school, the former teammates have reignited their friendship with plans to attend Harvard together.
Within the span of a month over the summer, both Bogdan and Istvan made verbal commitments to enroll at Harvard next year and play sports. Bogdan is looking to wrap up a four-year career as point guard on Montini’s basketball team this winter. Istvan is currently the starting volleyball setter for Hinsdale Central, which entered the season as a top 10 team by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bogdan, who was a member of Montini’s Class 3A state championship teams in 2012 and 2014, verbally committed to Harvard in June.
When she shared her decision with Istvan, Istvan told her former teammate that she was being recruited by Harvard to play volleyball. Istvan, a Hinsdale resident, picked the Crimson one month later, after returning from the AAU Junior Nationals in Orlando, Fla.
“It’s awesome,” said Bogdan, a Clarendon Hills resident. “Me and Brooke have the same minds. We think the same. That’s why we ended up so close [as friends].”
Geography and separate sports schedules prevented Bogdan and Istvan from remaining close after their CHMS days. Back in seventh and eighth grade, they were on the same volleyball and basketball teams and even did their homework together.
Years later, they now keep in touch as they tackle the process of filling out their applications for Harvard and comparing ideas for their college essays.
“We always got along,” Istvan said of Bogdan. “I like Kelsey. We have the same personality. We think the same things are funny. We don’t get together too much [recently]. Now when we hang out, we’re like best friends again.”
The first time Bogdan and Istvan played for the same team was in the third grade with the Oak Brook Hawks soccer club. Their fathers, Jay Bogdan and Jay Istvan, were co-coaches.
“They paired me with a guy I had never met,” Jay Istvan said. “Jay [Bogdan] and I had the same philosophy with the girls — have fun and [introduce] some skill sets. It was not about win-and-loss ratios.”
At CHMS, Bogdan and Istvan won a combined four conference championships in volleyball and basketball. Their only loss came during their eighth grade basketball season to Hinsdale Middle School. Coincidently, Gabrielle Rush was the star for Hinsdale and the current Hinsdale Central standout committed over the summer to play at Princeton.
“Harvard gives us something more to talk about,” Istvan said of Bogdan.