Identical twins succeed at cross country, track


By Maggie Neary, Staff Reporter

Since they were young, freshmen Audrey and Laila Dogum have become very used to answering to “Which twin are you?” They receive this question multiple times a day and are used to answering to the wrong name. But when it comes to cross country and track, the twins stand by their own distinct identities.

As runners for most of their lives, Audrey and Laila made double the impact on the ’Stoga cross country and track teams. Laila competes best in the mile, and Audrey prefers the 400m or 800m. Despite training together and pushing one another to grow, in some cross country meets the twins have to race against each other.

“I try to stick to her, and she tries to stick to me, but it depends on who is going faster. I think we both have better times because of that,” Audrey Dogum said.

Whether they are mid-season or out of season, the twin’s relationship is competitive, yet supportive.

“It’s nice to have someone to encourage me in the off-season and summer and push the pace,” Laila Dogum said.

“When (Laila) is going for a run during the offseason or the summer, it makes me feel like I have to,” Audrey Dogum said.
As aspiring collegiate runners, the girls’ fierce attitudes do not go unnoticed. Track coach Mark Carberry, who has been coaching them since November, picked up on their tactics.

“On race day, when the starting gun goes off, they both seem to have a switch that puts them into competitor mode,” Carberry said.

“Audrey tends to put her head down and race all-out, while Laila can be more cerebral and analyze the race in front of her before attacking.”

While the twins have found plenty of success in their respective events, Audrey is inspired by Laila’s ability to run the mile, while Laila wants to master the 800m like Audrey. While their competition is good natured, the twins realize there are some downsides to competing in the same sport.

“If one of us doesn’t do as well as the other, then people will point that out,” Audrey Dogum said.

Naturally, pressure to beat the other is put on both girls. And while they agree that it gets tiring and overwhelming, they still support each other relentlessly.

“I noticed they both ran neck-to-neck during the fall cross country season, so I tried my best to let them both grow without being pitted against one another,” Carberry said. “They’re very motivating to each other and their teammates and seem to be each other’s biggest cheerleader.”

As identical twins of the same height, telling the two apart while they run is even more difficult. However, coach Carberry has found ways to tell them apart.

“Laila’s stride tends to land more on her heel while Audrey has worked to land more on her mid-sole. Otherwise, Laila tends to wear her hair back in a ponytail and Audrey keeps it down,” Carberry said. “I’m proud to say I haven’t mixed them up too much recently.”

A welcomed addition to the ’Stoga teams, the freshmen sisters have started with a bang, leaving their coach excited to see what the future has in store for them.

“Both are coachable, eager and willing to take on a challenge,” Carberry said. “They are truly a coach’s dream to work with.”

Maggie Neary can be reached at [email protected].