Falkville's Tucker twins bring home title
The Falkville girls' track team surprised a lot of folks last year when they won the 3A state track championship. They got their picture on the wall of Drake Gymnasium, an honor reserved for the school's most outstanding athletes.
But the team lost a large group of point earners to graduation and few expected the Lady Blue Devils to be able to repeat. When the team finished third overall, it was an unexpected surprise that raised hopes for the future of the team.
Sparking some of that expectation was the first-place finish of the Blue Devil 4 x 800-relay team of Andrea, Ashley, Tara and Sara Tucker.
The sisters won the event with a time of 10:47.34, a school record, but for most people the fact that the Tucker girls are two sets of twins is more remarkable.
Older sisters Andrea and Ashley are finishing their freshman year at Falkville High, while younger sisters Tara and Sara will be entering the eighth grade next year.
"We would like to have won state again of course, but to be as young as we were and finish third is a big accomplishment," Falkville Assistant Principal Keith Wilemon said. Wilemon helps his wife Karen coach the team.
Despite knowing a title repeat was a long shot, the Wilemons spotted a bright spot early in the season when the two sets of twins turned in times in the 3,200-meter relay that spoke of good things to come.
"I knew we had a shot at it when Andrea and Ashley ran solid legs and Tara and Sara ran their legs in the 2:40s," Wilemon said.
"Coach told us that if we could keep from getting injured that we could win it," Andrea said.
The Wilemons divided the older twins between the lead off leg and the anchor spot with the younger siblings running the two middle legs of the 3,200-meter relay.
The older girls ran first and last because of their experience and speed, Wilemon said.
"My job was to keep us in the top four or five," Ashley said. She did better than required, passing the baton to sister Tara in the third-place position.
Ahead of the Falkville sister act were runners from Rodgers and Holly Pond.
Tara logged her 800-meter leg, passing the Rodgers runner on her last lap, turning over second place for Sara to maintain.
The second of the younger twins delivered another advance for the Lady Devils as she passed the Holly Pond runner with about 200-meters left in the third leg of the relay.
When Andrea took the baton from her sister, all she had to do was retain first place and with a 2:30 time in her stretch the Blue Devils cruised to victory in the anchor leg.
Andrea went on to set a school and personal record in the 800-meter run with her 2:30 time later that day.
The girls say they are really enjoying their experience as part of the tradition of success in Falkville girls' track, but the biggest thrill for the foursome was realizing their picture will adorn the wall of Drake Gymnasium for their state championship accomplishment.
They are the daughters of Tonia and Kenneth Tucker of Massey.