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Twinning is a phrase many of today’s youth use to describe the act of dressing alike.
In Shelby County it can also be used to describe several of the fall sports teams.
That’s because twins contributed to five of the varsity sports teams at Collins and Shelby County high schools.
And in several cases those squads weren't just twinning, they’re also winning.
Those twosomes who had opponents seeing double are Collins senior girls’ soccer players Marysa and Miranda Maier, Collins junior football players Elijah and Isaiah Jones, Shelby County senior cross-country runners Jordan and Taylor Webb and Shelby County boys’ soccer
player Stuart Orange and girls’ soccer player Samantha Orange.
Keeping up with the Joneses
Keeping up with the Joneses might not be as easy as catching a pass against them. Elijah and Isaiah are the starting cornerbacks for Collins’ district-leading team.
“It’s fun because we both play cornerback, and we line up on opposite sides of the field,” Isaiah Jones said.
That has been a luxury for Collins Coach Jerry Lucas.
“It is great for us to us know they are out there,” Lucas said. “They are always in the right spot and making plays for us. They are fantastic young men and extremely hard workers and exactly the type of young men we want representing our team and our school.”
Elijah Jones would likely rank among the state leaders in interceptions (such statistics are not released weekly) – he picked off a pass against each of the Titans’ first five foes – while Isaiah has also been a key contributor on a defense that recently ranked 15th in 4A against the pass.
“Both are hard hitters and great cover corners,” Lucas said. “They are huge playmakers for us and the best duo of corners I can ever remember having. They seem to always be in the right spot in one of the most difficult positions in all of sports. They come from a great family and are as good in the classroom as they are on the field.”
The only problem the Jones brothers have given Lucas is trying to tell which one is which.
“It has taken me three years to be able to tell them apart, and I still struggle with it on occasion,” Lucas said. “I remember sitting them down as freshmen and staring at them for what seemed like forever and finally gave up because I couldn't tell them apart.”
There is a secret, though. “I have a scar on my forehead,” Elijah Jones said. “That’s how everybody else tells us apart.”
How did he get that scar?
It happened several years ago when Isaiah accidentally hit his brother in the head with a golf club.
“I swung back, and I didn’t know he was behind me,” Isaiah Jones said.
Although there are some obvious physical differences between opposite sex twins Samantha (or “Sam”) and Stuart Orange, (Stuart stands 5 feet 7, Sam 5-3) there are several similarities, especially on the soccer field.
Sam played fullback for the Rockets, and Stuart also was a defender.
“We’re alike in the way we work hard,” said Stuart Orange, who grew up playing soccer with his sister while their father (Terry) coached. That carries over off the field too. Stuart has a 4.0 grade-point average, and Sam isn’t far behind with a 3.7. But GPAs aren’t the only likeness.
“We like the same things,” said Sam Orange, who is 23 minutes younger than her brother. “We’re pretty much involved in the same things, like soccer, music, track and church.”
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sam and Stuart know each other well.
“He always says, ‘Bless you,’ before I sneeze,” Sam Orange said.
“I can just tell by the look on her face,” Stuart Orange said. “But sometimes it freaks people out.”
Something else that may freak people out is the fact that the Oranges seem to often be on the same mental wave length.
“Teachers that have both of them, but in different periods, have said that they will ask the same questions during the same point in the lecture,” said their mother, Renae Orange.
“Teachers have also said that when you get them both together and they start talking about something they're passionate about, they finish each other’s sentences.
“Also a student said that once she passed Sam in the hall and she was singing a song the student knew. The student then started singing the same song. Thirty seconds later she passed Stu and not only was he singing the same song, but he was at the exact same place and was harmonizing with her.”
Webbs of confusion
Jordan and Taylor Webb have been told often that they run alike.
This fall, however, the two haven’t been able to run together. That’s because Taylor, who finished fifth at the state meet as a sophomore and 12th as a junior, has had to sit out this season after having hip surgery during the summer.
“It stinks that she can’t run this season,” Jordan Webb said.
Despite her injury Taylor Webb, a team captain, has been a regular at practices (when she doesn’t have physical therapy) and meets and a motivation to her sister.
“It’s pushed me to go faster,” said Jordan Webb, who has been the Rockets’ first or second finisher in every meet this season. “I feel like I need to step up and take her place.”
And in spite of the fact that Taylor was on crutches for the start of the school year, there were still times when fellow SCHS students couldn’t put the right name with her face.
“They would still call me Jordan,” she said.
But that isn’t too surprising considering that’s it’s often hard to tell which Webb is which, unless you know how to. Although at 5-2 Taylor is slightly taller than her older sister (by 26 minutes) Jordan, who is 5-1, has a mole on her chin that Taylor doesn’t.
Still, that doesn’t stop the mistaken identities.
“Someone will come up to me in the hallway and start talking about something and I have no idea what they’re talking about, then I realize they think I’m Jordan and I’ll just go a long with it because I don’t want to have to tell them I’m Taylor,” Taylor Webb said.
Making things even more arduous for Jordan, though, is the fact that not only does she have an identical twin at SCHS, she also has a name twin: Shelby County junior Jordan Webb is a standout golfer for the Rockets.
“I still get congratulations for golf,” said Jordan Webb, who also swims for Shelby County.
Marysa and Miranda Maier, both defenders, were major reasons why the Titans allowed only 15 goals in 20 regular-season matches this season.
“The twins are a coach's dream,” Titans Coach Terry Murphy said. “They never complain, they are never negative, never quitters, always first at practice, hard workers and leaders by example. I have had them for three years now, and I coached them when they were younger also.…I will more than miss them.
“(And) I think I have finally figured out which is which.”
Marysa is 16 minutes older and about an inch taller – 5-7½ to Miranda’s 5-6½ – and also has a birthmark on her neck. Still you could say that looking at the two is like looking in the mirror, especially considering Marysa usually parts her hair on the right, while
Miranda usually parts her hair on the left.
Meanwhile the two, who are in countless clubs at Collins together and have grade-point averages separated by a tenth of a point (Miranda has a 4.5 GPA and Marysa a 4.4), were apart much of the summer, while both attended the Governor’s Scholars Program (Marysa went to Bellarmine University while Miranda went to Centre College).
“It was great,” Marysa said. “We didn’t hardly talk to each other. I think she texted me and asked me how it was, and I said, ‘It’s amazing,’ and that was pretty much the extent of it.”
The two, however, have been back together this fall. They currently have every class together at Collins, and recently they celebrated their “Senior Night” with the Titans in a special way – Miranda assisted Marysa’s goal, a twin-killing for sure in Collins’ 8-0 victory over Bullitt Central.
This fall, though, hasn’t only been about winning for several Shelby County varsity sports teams, it’s been about twinning.