Rachel, who will be a sophomore this year, says the switch to LCA required some adjustment.
"It was a lot of driving - or riding - at first. We leave at 7:05 (a.m.), or try to. Then we have practice after school pretty much every day. Most days we get back home at 6:30 (p.m.) or so," she said.
Still, they like competing in cross country and track in spite of the long hours and travel.
"We did a lot of other sports. We both played soccer. We did karate, played softball and basketball, where I was really bad," Emma said. "But we both like to run."
Or at least they do now.
Began on a whim
Rachel actually started her running career at age 11 on a whim. She was in downtown Danville during the Constitution Run when she asked her parents if she could run. Not only did she finish the 3.1-mile race, but she finished in a remarkable 25 minutes, 35 seconds in her first race.
Recently she was the first female finisher in the Heart of Kentucky 5K in 21:31 and Emma was second in 21:57. A few weeks earlier Rachel was among the top 20 overall finishers in the Run for the Brass 5K here in 20:54.
"I just like it. I like cross country better than track, though," she said.
Emma thought she would play soccer last season. Then she learned eighth-grade players could not participate on the varsity team. She joined her sister on the cross country team and now intends to stick with that sport.
They insist they are not that competitive, but it's easy to tell there is a friendly rivalry.
"I just pretty much know I can't beat her," Emma said. "But one time she only beat me by one second. Really, a half second. I should have beat her, but I think I was just kind of afraid of what she might do to me if I beat her. She probably wouldn't let me beat her anyway. That's how she is."
They ran on the same 3,200-meter relay team in track last season. Rachel also ran the 1,600- and 800-meter runs and qualified for the state in each event. "But I was not happy with how I finished," she said.
They had decided not to run track when Rachel came to her mother after the Christmas break and told her she didn't like not having someone to be accountable to for her running schedule.
There also was a potential scheduling problem. Rachel had a mission trip planned over spring break and the family had a mission trip planned to Guatemala in February.
"We got with the coaches and worked it out and said we would like a few accommodations so the girls could run at home and not have to stay after school to run every day. They were good with that," Karen Ditto said. "When we got into the heart of the season, we had to accommodate track first. But during the preseason, the coaches worked to accommodate us."
Of course, considering their background, it's remarkable they ran track at all.
"They had never been to a track meet before this year. They didn't know what it was. Doug (their father) used to run track, but they really had no idea what a track meet was all about," their mother said.
They also have no idea what it would be like to have an abundance of free time.
"When we were going to LCA, I just knew I was going to run cross country. We really didn't talk about it that much. I started at DCA running. It was just me and Emma. We ran races around town. We liked those in the summer. We have just kept doing it," Rachel said.
"We know our schedule. We run after school, come home, do our homework and go to bed. We've just never had a problem with it. This is what we do. We just like it. We do other things, but we like the schedule we have."
Their social life is limited. They have friends from DCA. They have friends in their neighborhood. They have LCA friends. They have friends from Indian Hills Christian Church.
"We are friends with everybody on our team, so it is fun to be there and see them, too," Emma said. "We have plenty of friends and things to do."
"We go to church every Wednesday and Sunday night, and I like that," Rachel, who will be a sophomore this year, said. "I still try to fit stuff in, but I'm fine with not having a lot of free time."
She doesn't mind that despite LCA's prowess in many sports, the cross country team only had six runners last season.
"I like it being smaller because that is what we were used to at DCA. Going into a big school, it was nice to have a smaller team. I went from a class of eight at DCA to a class with 150 at LCA. It was nice to have a little group of people after school to be with like we had in cross country," Rachel said.
Cross country season starts again next month and both girls hope to improve their times this season even though they don't set specific goals.
"I just want to be better, and so does Emma," said Rachel. "We haven't talked about a lot of goals for this year yet. I just know I want to do better and push myself all I can. But I also want to make sure I keep having fun doing it and keep the right perspective in everything we do."