This team is playing three Mann up

Kate DeForrest

“The best part about being a triplet is not being an only child and [experiencing] that loneliness. I have two other people to go to when I’m in a tough situation; it’s actually very beneficial,” freshman Xander Mann said.

Laughing with their friends, the Manns enjoy the support of being a triplet.

For triplets Xander, Devon and Niko, having two other siblings of the same age provides a network of support and someone they can always rely on. Although all three brothers now attend Redwood, they previously went to different middle schools. Xander found going to high school with both of his brothers an exciting change.

“In the beginning [of high school], it was like, ‘Dang, we’re all three walking into [the same school together].’… [But] now that we all go to the same school, we’re looking out [for each other] more,” Xander said.

Because they now share some of the same classes, Xander notices that he and his brothers can help each other remember assignments and activities, while they previously had to manage work independently. Being a triplet also means having a network of connections: when one triplet makes a new friend, they all meet someone new.

In addition to going to the same school, all three brothers decided to run cross country together this year. Xander enjoys being on a team with his siblings and appreciates the friends they have made. He feels that he and his brothers’ connection and strong support for each other had a positive effect on the rest of the team. 

“When we’re on the same team, like in cross country, we [aren’t] all the same speed. But when one of us is ahead, we cheer him on as he passes us, and when he finishes, we cheer him on too,” Xander said.

Although they may look similar, Xander finds it important that others notice that each brother has his own personality and interests.

In addition to running cross country, the brothers hope to sail for Redwood in the spring. Their mom, Eva Mann, describes how they have always participated in many of the same activities and had some of the same interests since they were little. She remembers how, when they were younger, they did martial arts, loved exploring new places and wore the same pair of shoes. But as time passed, the siblings each started to find unique interests.

“Now that we’re growing up, we’re finding our own passions. Before, we were all interested in the same thing,” Niko said. “[Now], Xander is taking Spanish, but I’m not taking Spanish and neither is Devon. Devon and I both [take an] art class.”

Eva also notes that each chose to play a different instrument when they started music and have their own distinct approach to each interest that they share. 

“[Recently], they started volunteering and cooking, and they all like it. But one of them likes cooking, and one of them likes baking. They all try to find a different angle to make [an activity] their own,” Eva said. “They are each their own person, … but that’s what makes [having triplets] interesting.” 

Nevertheless, the brothers embrace the challenges of being triplets, such as the constant comparisons or the relentless question, “Are you identical?” They still appreciate the constant support and understanding of two other siblings of the same age. For Xander, this means being themselves, no matter what others may say.

Devon feels that wearing matching clothes some days can help spread happiness and optimism to others.

“Being a triplet is part of us. I wouldn’t say [being a triplet] is a big part of our identity,  [but] people will notice [and say], ‘Oh, it’s the triplets.’ [But no matter what people say about us], we’re just being ourselves,” Xander said.

In addition, the brothers welcome the uniqueness of being triplets. Devon finds appreciation in being a triplet and sometimes messes with his peers. They also sometimes wear the same outfit to school, which Devon enjoys. 

“I like spreading happiness. [Wearing the same clothes provokes] good laughs in other people and brightens their day because we’re ‘the triplets.’ One walks in and one walks out, like they never left,” Devon said. 

He hopes they will continue supporting each other in the future and enjoy being together for now. 

“[When you’re a triplet], you just have two extra brothers. If anything happens, they’re going to be there for you,” Devon said.