Kenza and Maysa Araba are identical twins few people can tell apart. Younger sister Miah looks enough like the other two that she is often asked which of the twins she is.
It can get confusing, especially now that the trio essentially shares one wardrobe.
There seemed to be an Araba (Ah-rah-bah) everywhere during the N.C. High School Athletic Association state championships last month.
Maysa Araba won NCHSAA 2A track and field championships in the 800 and 1,600 meters, setting records in each, and jogged away with the MVP award.
A couple of weeks later, Kenza Araba started and played well in Carrboro’s 2-1 overtime victory over East Bend Forbush High in the 2A girls soccer championship. Little sister Miah (Me-ah) scored both goals and also was named the game’s MVP.
Siblings probably have won NCHSAA championship MVP awards in different sports during the same season, but maybe not.
“It was quite a month,” said the girls’ mom, Bridgitte Araba, a veterinarian.
Kenza and Maysa are graduating this year, carrying accumulative grade point averages of around 5.0 on a 4.0 scale with extra credit for advanced classes. They plan to room together at the University of North Carolina, where Maysa is expected to join the track team.
They thought about requesting other roommates for the experience of getting to know someone else, but eventually opted to stick together.
“We know we can live with one another,” Maysa said.
Plus the thing with the clothes.
“The clothes were a big factor. She shares,” Maysa said and all three burst out laughing.
All three wear the same sizes, and all three played the same sport, too, until Maysa decided when she was 13 that she didn’t enjoy soccer practice anymore. She wanted a change.
Kenza considered turning to something else, but soccer teammates persuaded her to keeping play. Maysa was unmoved by their pleas.
The rule at their house is that they must be involved in sports so Maysa switched from soccer, which her dad, Miloud (Me-lood), still plays, to take up competitive running, something her mother had done.
“I still hung around with the soccer people, but I made some good friends in running, too,” Maysa said.
She also could run very fast for long distances.
She was the NCHSAA 2A cross country runner-up as a sophomore and won state titles as a junior and senior. She also won back to back 2A titles in the 800 and 1,600 in outdoor track.
So does Kenza think that she should have switched, too?
“No. I still love soccer,” Kenza said.
It worked out for the best, Maysa said.
“We may have become more competitive with each other if we had both run track,” Maysa said.
Huge in the finals
April Ross, Carrboro High’s athletics director, said there is no doubt that the girls could have excelled in one another’s sports.
“They are all tremendous athletes, and they can all run and run and run,” Ross said.
Kenza helped Carrboro win the 2A soccer title as a freshman starter and was a mainstay on the Jaguars’ championship team this year. The club allowed only two goals all season, a state record.
Miah, named for soccer great Mia Hamm, came up huge in the finals. She scored on a corner kick for a 1-0 lead in overtime. Forbush tied the game 78 seconds later.
“That is the worst feeling,” Miah said. “You work so hard to get a goal, and you are excited. Then the other team scores quickly, and it is like you are right back where you started.”
But Miah rifled in a shot from 30 yards out a few minutes later. The goal was the game winner and capped a 21-0-1 season.
“I aimed it a little, but mostly I wanted to clobber the ball,” she said.
Lifting the state championship soccer banner was a fitting ending for the Arabas twins. They were excited for each other and especially happy for their school.
Maysa and Kenza look back on their careers with pride, pride in what they accomplished and pride in the part that each has played in her teams’ successes.
But they also think about what their teams accomplished and what they learned.
“Our parents wanted us involved in athletics to learn teamwork, discipline, time management, those things,” Kenza said. “I think we did.
“And we made friends and had a lot of fun.”