I’m Aya and She’s Ava! I’m Ava and She’s Aya!

Lacrosse team captains, and best friends, are twins but not really twins

Jo Lucio and Kacy Puno

Aya Baker and Ava Bryden are both seniors at Glendale High School, and they are currently captains of the GHS girls varsity lacrosse team. They have been friends since elementary school, but once they started high school, they’ve been almost inseparable. Ava was recently accepted to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, which is one of the most selective schools in the country.

How long have you known each other? 

AYA: We’ve known each other since third grade. I came from Japan, to Irvine, to Glendale, while Ava skipped the Irvine part. [Laughs] We were in the same elementary class. We were friends in middle school, because we started playing lacrosse together. But we became really close friends during sophomore year. That is when we became friends outside of lacrosse. 

Do you guys have a lot in common? 

AYA: The main similarity would be that we are half Japanese and that we were in the same program together. 

AVA: I mean, we don’t agree on everything, and we are not supposed to agree on everything, but that’s what makes it fun. 

AYA: And also the fact that we are both in lacrosse, which makes us pretty similar. 

So, you guys aren’t related? Not even 1%? 

AYA: Well, we’ve told people on the field that we are. Sometimes, I’d say that she’s my twin or my cousin. 

AVA: Because sometimes people would come up to us in the middle of the game. I’d take the draw and they’d say, “Is that your sister over there?” or “Did you just score?”

AYA: Yeah, and like Ava, if you would’ve made a great shot they would be like, “That was an amazing shot you just made!” And I’d be like, “Thank you, but that wasn’t me. That was her.” 

Do you speak Japanese on the field? 

AYA: Yeah, like on the draw, I’ll tell her where I’ll put it, or she’ll tell me where she’ll put it. 

AVA: And it works out, because not everyone speaks Japanese. 

We’ve heard that you guys wear similar items on the field. 

AVA: Well, we have the same headband. 

AYA: Oh yeah, but we do that on purpose. We have the blue headband, and we have close jersey numbers: 9 and 7. 

AVA: From behind, we have the same hairline. We’ve been told that we look the same on the field as well. Especially on our club team. 

AYA: But the thing is, on our club team, we play different positions. I’ll play midfield and she’ll play defense. Until recently, she’s been playing midfield. 

AVA: Point is though, we do look pretty similar on the field. 

AYA: I think it’s just the build. Both of us are built really similar. Like, we’re pretty long and we play similarly as well. I mean, watching our footage, we play so much alike. 

Ava, how do you feel about getting accepted into the Air Force Academy? 

AVA: Well, I’m trying to supress my feelings about it. I didn’t want it to be broadcasted, as it was really embarrassing. But, I’m super happy about it and excited. I’m a little scared but everyone is scared. It’s going to be really interesting. 

It’s going to be a really hard four years, but it isn’t supposed to be easy. You go there, and they break you down only to build you back up again the first year. But it’s a chance and an opportunity that I’m really excited about. The next ten to fifteen years of my life are already planned, so I’m excited. Not everyone is going to be supportive, but my parents have been really supportive. So I’m glad I have a really good support system. 

So it was your decision to sign up for the Air Force? 

AVA: Yes, it was ultimately my decision. Nobody pushed me to do it. My father originally got the appointment, but he ended up not going there. He talked about going to the Academy. But he told me all about it and how it’s not like other colleges. It’s not going to be a regular college experience, but he supported me through it. He was probably my biggest supporter in everything. It was very nice to have him on the sidelines. I cried when I called my dad to tell him that I got accepted. 

AYA: And the Academy acceptance rate is super low. 

AVA: Yeah, it seems like it’s high, because it’s 10%. But only 1,200 people get accepted, yet only 1,000 go. There are a lot of steps that people take for granted, but in the end, it’s always worth it. It’s a very tedious process, which took me about eight months. 

Do you know when you leave? 

AVA: I have to leave on the 23rd of June. I have a week to say goodbye. 

AYA: Yeah, and that week we are going to PARTY! 

Do you guys share the same hobbies? 

AVA: We both like hiking a lot, actually. 

AYA: But I think that’s because we’re really active people. 

AVA: I like collecting things. The amount of marbles I have in my house is not funny. I don’t know how I’m going to get rid of those. Oh, I collect coins, too, and pennies. I have a quarter book, a nickel book, a dime book, and a penny book. 

AYA: Do you have a press penny collection? 

AVA: [Looks away]

AYA: Oh, that’s a disgrace. 

AVA: Well, I collect pennies wherever I go, but I give some to my friend, because she has a bigger collection. So technically we have joint custody of the pennies. [To Aya] Well, do you have a quarter book? 

AYA: Sorry, I do not. 

AVA: I ask my grandma to collect quarters for me. One time, I was so desperate [that] I needed bus fare, and so I took some quarters out and I don’t know how I’m going to get those back. I haven’t told my grandma. [Laughs]

Anything you want to say about your friendship? 

AVA: [To Aya] I’m glad I met you. 

AYA: Aww… 

We’ve learned how far Aya and Ava have come, especially how they’ve grown together. Do you want to see their bond in action? Keep up with the daily announcements and look for the sports schedule at our school’s website to see these two superstars compete on the field.