Apparently fast comes in twos.
The most flashy track and field times in the state are either from a Merriweather or Wilson. Either a Dai’lyn or Jai’lyn. Aliya or Alisha. A Tahoma twin or Titan twin.
Union’s Dai’lyn Merriweather is the two-time defending state champion in the 200 meters and her identical twin Jai’lyn is the reigning 400 champion. Tahoma’s Aliya “Nami” Wilson holds the state’s fastest 100 time and she combined with her identical twin, Alisha “Miya” Wilson, to run the fastest time in state history in the 4x100 relay this year.
But which twins have more turbo? Dai’lyn, Jai’lyn and Nami have the three fastest times in the 100 and 200 in the 4A classification this year.
Dominique Merriweather, a former 200 state champion, himself, and father of the Merriweather twins, requested a question: Who will be crowned the 4A state champion in the event this weekend?
The twins burst into laughter.
“Maybe we can all hold hands and finish together,” Dai’lyn said.
“I’m just going to run my race,” Nami said.
“And whatever happens, happens,” Jai’lyn said.
Just like the Merriweather twins, who are seniors, the sophomore Wilson twins have shared a birthday, athletic prowess, a bedroom (at least for a while) and consider themselves best friends. But they also have their unique differences.
They look more like Olympic sprinters than high school sprinters.
And they got some good genes. Their mother, Beverly, ran track in high school. Their dad won a state championship with Benson High School in Oregon in the 200, two in the 4x100 relay and two in the 4x400 relay.
But running was not love at first stride. Jai’lyn cried the first time she ran the 400, her father said.
“We would be like, ‘No! We hate track! Never!” Dai’lyn said.
They’re inseparable, their names separated by one letter. They’ve shared a living space together since the womb, though they plan to have their own bedrooms for the first time when they get to the University of Maryland. They both signed letters of intent in the fall to run track there.
They might bicker working on math homework together, but Dominique said that’s about it.
“They are best friends,” he said. “Two peas in a pod, and that is so wonderful.
“With those two – it’s been an easy ride, I’m not even going to lie. They love each other. I’ve never really even seen them argue.”
Their father thought it best to split up their events. Last year, Dai’lyn raced at state in the 100 and 200; Jai’lyn in the 400; and they combined in the 4x200 and 4x400 relays (where they hand off to each other).
But this year, Jai’lyn will run the 200 at state for the first time against her two-time defending champion sister.
If she were to win?
“I think I would feel bad,” Jai’lyn said, softly.
“We had always kept their events somewhat separate because they could have their own identities in track,” Dominique said. “There was already enough pressure on them. I just tried to make sure they could be their own person, so they weren’t always facing each other in head-to-head competition.”
Nami spotted Miya in the grandstands.
“Miya! Come down here!” She bellowed.
Never mind that Nami had just finished running the 200 and was still trying to catch her breath.
“It’s OK, I can always yell at her,” she joked.
They used to share a bedroom when they lived in Redmond before moving to Maple Valley.
“And we hated it,” Miya said.
The Wilson sisters are called by their nicknames, which are Japanese. Their mother was born in Japan before moving across the Pacific Ocean after college.
Nami said her and Miya are identical twins, but more people confuse her with her older sister Tierra Wilson, a senior, than Miya.
Nami is strict on healthy living. Miya’s room might have clothes lying on the floor, while Nami’s has weights.
Nami meal preps for her whole family every week, with the meals changing based on where they are in their track season. Though, Miya keeps a stash of sour candies, gummies and hot Cheetos.
“Nami is like our team nutritionist,” Tierra said. “She made the team’s nutrition plan and guidelines and she makes all of our lunches. Everything is some type of chicken – chicken meatballs or really good seasoned chicken. And a lot of vegetables, brown rice, snack stuff. I don’t remember the last time we had pizza.
“We’ve been trying to get her to start an Instagram account for her fitness and health.”
Nami’s 100 time is the fastest in the state this year (11.73). And her 200 time of 24.45 just trails Dai’lyn and Jai’lyn for fastest in the state.
But more athletic? She admits that’s her slightly younger sister, Miya, who is the third leg handing off to Nami on their blistering 46.32-second 4x100 relay team alongside Tierra and UW commit Olivia Ribera. Together they won the state title last year and then went to Arcadia, California, earlier this season and obliterated the previous Washington state record of 46.90 seconds held by Federal Way’s 2014 relay.
Miya long frame makes her one of the state’s best jumpers. She has the third-best long jump in the 4A classification this year and the fifth-best triple jump.
“Miya can jump and run,” Nami said. “I just run.”
“But Nami is super athletic, too,” Miya said.
So for all their playful bickering, they say they are best friends just like the Merriweather twins.
That was maybe most evident last Saturday. They were speaking to a reporter when a swarm of what they thought were bees flew through French Field in Kent.
They both quickly stepped back, dropped to the turf and put their heads down. When they looked up, Nami had her arm wrapped around Miya as if to protect her.
“When we moved to Tahoma (from Redmond) we were the only people that we knew,” Miya said. “So we would always be together. We’d go to lunch, practice, class, everything together.
“She takes care of me a lot. And if I’m mad, she won’t be mad, and if she’s mad, I won’t be mad. We are always trying to lift each other up.”
And the Merriweather twins spoke of the same concept.
“It’s your twin, your best friend. Your No. 1 supporter all in one,” Dai’lyn said. “And you get to train with them.”
“To have someone who is like that at the same level as you and has the same goals and the same drive is really helpful, too, because you need that to help keep you going,” Jai’lyn said. “Especially on the hard days.”
Which for these sets of twins, there don’t seem to be many of those.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
Union senior twins Dai’lyn and Jai’lyn Merriweather and Tahoma twins Alisha “Miya” Wilson and Aliya “Nami” Wilson are some of the fastest in the state. But which sets of twins is the fastest? Here’s how they rank in their events in the 4A classification entering the state championships, which run Thursday-Saturday at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
1. Aliya “Nami” Wilson, Tahoma – 11.73
2. Dai’lyn Merriweather, Union – 11.89
3. Olivia Ribera, Tahoma – 12.07
1. Dai’lyn Merriweather, Union – 23.77
2. Jai’lyn Merriweather, Union – 24.19
3. Aliya “Nami” Wilson, Tahoma – 24.45
4. Olivia Ribera, Tahoma – 24.58
1. Jai’lyn Merriweather, Union – 53.80
2. Dai’lyn Merriweather, Union – 56.58
1. Tahoma (Tierra “Umi” Wilson, Olivia Ribera, Alisha “Miya” Wilson, Aliya “Nami” Wilson) 46.32*
2. Lewis and Clark (Emily Greene, Maya Lebar, Isabella Millsap, Anna Rodgers) 47.75
3. Union (Logan Nelson, Makayla Woods, Jai’lyn Merriweather, Dai’lyn Merriweather) 48.42
*Washington track and field state record
1. Union (Logan Nelson, Makayla Woods, Jai’lyn Merriweather, Dai’lyn Merriweather) 1:39.22
2. Issaquah (Siarfo Abekah, Mackenzie Crandall, Elise Burdette, Nikki Stephens) 1:40.90
3. Tahoma (Aliya “Nami” Wilson, Alisha “Miya” Wilson, Tierra “Umi” Wilson, Olivia Ribera) 1:41.27
1. Union (Brooklyn Jackson, Makayla Woods, Jai’lyn Merriweather, Dai’lyn Merriweather) 3:50.30
1. Jelani Heath, Rogers – 19-11
2. Anna Rodgers, Lewis and Clark – 19-1¼
3. Alisha “Miya” Wilson, Tahoma – 19-1
1. Lexi Ellis, Curtis – 42-7¼
2. Audrey Fernandez, Emerald Ridge – 39-7¼
3. Josephine Akinlosotu, Federal Way – 39-6½
4. Saudia Heard, Curtis – 39-4¼
5. Alisha “Miya” Wilson, Tahoma – 39-4¼
TJ Cotterill: firstname.lastname@example.org