MARBLE FALLS — They are known as “the Striplets” in the halls of Marble Falls High School and have been making headlines since the day they were born.
But to family members, they are simply Mike, Ben and Sarah Stripling, seniors at Marble Falls High School, who are scholars, leaders and athletes.
Born May 5, 1996, they made the front page of the Dallas Morning News as one of two groups of triplets born at Columbia Medical Center on the same day. Their parents, Kay and Kyle Stripling, still have that front page.
“It’s always easier being a triplet and going everywhere together,” Mike said. “You always have someone to talk to.”
That was definitely the case during the fall of 2010. Born only a minute apart, with Mike being the oldest then Ben then Sarah, all three recalled making the drive to the high school and being happy they had two others to walk on campus with on the first day.
They are different in personality as well as in looks.
Mike, who has brown eyes and brown hair and looks like his dad, is known as a tremendous student and leader as evident by being voting the Marble Falls High School student council president, like older brother Will, and Interact Club president.
“I love it, it’s a lot of responsibility,” he said. “I don’t feel like it’s time consuming. I feel like I’m somewhat of a leader, and I feel like I’m a good leader for the school. I don’t know if it’s a calling, but I enjoy doing it.”
Sarah, who has the same brown eyes and brown hair, is known for her athleticism and leadership. She has qualified for regional cross-country and track meets and helped the Lady Mustangs basketball team reach the third round of the playoffs as a freshman.
“I’m always bragging, ‘That’s my sister who scored 30 points,'” Mike said. “Sarah’s so smart, she’s so dedicated to everything she does in life.”
Ben, who has his mother’s blue eyes and blond hair, is the angler and basketball player known for his outside shooting and ability to enjoy the moment. Sarah said Ben has the patience with little brother Andrew that she and Mike don’t have.
“I’m jealous of Ben because he’s so easygoing and not uptight of anything,” Mike said with a smile. “He’s always good for a laugh.”
Mike and Sarah spend several hours preparing, whether for their school work, meetings or other commitments. Ben is able to get it all done in half the time, they say.
“Both of them are so super smart,” Ben said as he looked at his siblings and smiled. “It helps a lot if I need something.”
All three say they would be great friends if they weren’t related. And that’s easy to see when attending a ballgame. During football season, they sit close to each other in the student section. When one is playing, the others make it a point to attend his or her game and cheer.
Their extracurricular activities also helps strengthen their bonds. During the summer, Sarah led the way in restarting the high school chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Both Mike and Ben kept saying how proud they are that she took it upon herself to get it going again.
The Striplings keep basketball stats in the house with Sarah usually holding the majority, Ben said. She has scored the most points in a game at 32. Ben’s best is 29. The one stat that’s up for grabs is 3-pointers. That one has gone back and forth because Ben is known for floating along the 3-point line. He hit six in a win against Burnet. Sarah has hit several big 3-pointers, especially in crunch time.
There are no doubleheaders in District 25-4A, which means that when the Mustangs are home, the Lady Mustangs are on the road. So, usually, Kay Stripling, travels to the road games; Kyle Stripling stays for home games.
Ben and Sarah say there’s no sibling rivalry among the triplets because of their mutual love of the hardwood.
“Ben likes to come into my room at night, and we talk a long time,” Sarah said. “I can’t imagine them not being there.”
That’ll happen soon, though. Mike and Ben will attend Texas A&M University, while Sarah has decided to go to the University of Texas like brother Will. All plan to major in business, and Ben will minor in wildlife and fisheries.
Despite going in separate directions next year, the three know they’ll share a bond that will only grow stronger no matter where each one’s journey takes him or her. Besides, their mom and dad will have that front-page story to remind them how it all started – together.