The Cromwell Clan
-Austin's sports: Football; lacrosse
-Logan's sports: Basketball; lacrosse
-Dylan's sports: Football; track
-Older brother: Jared (class of 2012)
-Proud parents: Troy and Roxana
-All three in same course: Physical Education
What does it feel like to be a triplet? Don't ask Tuscarora High School's Austin, Logan and Dylan Cromwell. Even though that's what they are, they don't know - because they don't know any different.
"It's strange to go to other people's birthday parties and they're the only ones celebrating," said Logan, five minutes younger than Austin, five minutes older than Dylan.
Also, don't ask them about that affinity which identical siblings supposedly have, wherein they can feel each others' pain. They don't agree.
"Yeah, that's happened before," Logan said. "One time Dylan was sick and Austin and I had this uneasy feeling the whole day. It was really weird."
Her brother, Austin, didn't have that memory when separately interviewed. "No, I don't think so at all. I've never felt any of that. It'd be kinda cool to, though."
Dylan recalled a more concrete example. "Once back in second grade, Austin and I accidentally banged heads." He laughed. "I don't know if Logan felt that, but we did."
What the Cromwell triplets do have in common - other than all 26 chromosomes - is a lifelong love of sports and a mostly friendly sibling rivalry that goes back to the first race around their grandmother's house when they were 6 years old.
"For us it was about speed, because we all ran track and wanted to be the fastest," Logan said.
Dylan noted that "Whoever won had bragging rights for the day."
Austin, who stands accused of bragging about his grades, tacking his A-laden report cards on the fridge for all to behold, recalled, "We were really competitive growing up. Always playing with each other, always going as fast as we could."
Logan won those early races, until her brothers started to overtake her as puberty set in. Austin began to win. Recently, Dylan's been the fastest. For now.
"They've always vied for attention. 'Mom was looking at me; no, she was looking at me.' Brother-sister kind of competing," said mom Roxana. She's had plenty of time to give attention, being a teacher at Tuscarora as well as a parent at home.
Roxana was a track athlete and a cheerleader in her high school days, while husband Troy owns a national championship ring as a Pennsylvania State University wide receiver.
During the triplets’ formative years, Troy was the president of, and a coach in, the Ashburn Youth Football League while Dylan and Austin were players and Logan was a cheerleader.
"I don't think it's genetic. It's just that you don't want kids watching TV all day," Roxana said. "Once you get confidence in sports, you want to keep going with it."
The Cromwells have been a part of the Leesburg school since it opened in 2010. Roxana instructs business courses, while eldest son Jared was a record-setting sprinter on the track team. The triplets have attended Tuscarora for the school's entire short history, and feel a note of pride in being part of the start of Husky athletics.
"To be part of the first four-year class is pretty incredible," Austin said. "It feels pretty good."
The threesome will separate for the first time this summer. Dylan, track sprinter and gridiron defensive back, will continue his football career at Bridgewater College. Austin, outside lineman and lacrosse midfielder, has signed to play lacrosse for Colorado Mesa University. Logan, basketball guard and lacrosse defender, is considering joining the lacrosse team at Virginia Wesleyan.
While Logan won't miss Austin's habit of practicing his lacrosse throws against the wall while she's doing homework, it will be an adjustment for the triplets when there's no sibling among the crowd at their games.
"There's always a little bit of jealousy there," she said, "but really we're proud of each other when we're doing well."
Dylan expressed a similar sentiment.
"It'll be weird, not to have all of them around me every day," he said. "It'll be like a part of me is gone."