Part of one big happy family

DALE CITY — While taking his warmup laps with fellow jumpers Larry Evans, Derek Liggins and Eric Lewis on Wednesday, Gar-Field sophomore Terry Jackson started hollering at senior Tyree Carr while Carr was posing for a picture.

“You beat me by an inch,” Jackson yelled several times at Carr, who won the long jump at the Northwest Region meet in Charlottesville last weekend while Jackson placed second.

Carr just smiled and shrugged him off. After all, some of his teammates are literally family. Both Jackson and junior long jumper Derek Liggins are cousins of Carr and are part of a large group that’s spurred him to success in both jumping and hurdling events this season.

Liggins was all-state in the triple jump in both the indoor and outdoor season as a sophomore and Evans has been all-state in the high jump and triple jump, respectively. Lewis, the triple jump region champ, was all-state in last year’s indoor season while senior Antoine Woods was all-state in the 55-meter hurdles this indoor season.

“I am trying to beat him [Liggins] because I don’t want my little cousin beating me,” said Carr, whose brother Travis, a freshman, also runs for the Indians.

The teasing is all good-natured, said Evans, who would love to see Carr join him, Lewis, Liggins and Woods as all-staters.

“It’s like a chain reaction,” Evans said. “This year it’s like everybody trying to be the best and it’s making everybody better at the same time.”

“We’re all like brothers,” Carr added. “We’re all competitive but we don’t get mad, we just push each other.”

After running on a bad ankle the last two springs, Carr is finally healthy and revving up for the Group AAA state meet. Along with his win last week in the long jump, where he jumped a career-best 22 feet, one and a quarter inch, Carr ran on the victorious 400-meter relay squad that includes Jackson, Eric Coleman and Yaw Owusu Boama.

He also finished third in the triple jump and the 110-meter high hurdles, respectively, and fifth in the 300-meter hurdles as the Indians won their first boys outdoor region title under seventh-year coach Jeff Custer.

“This weekend I am trying to repeat what I did at region,” Carr said. “I’ll try to go a little farther and run a little faster and help the team out. I am trying to get a ring before I leave.”

Carr, a native of Philadelphia, ran track his eighth-grade year in Dale City and came out his freshman year just to get faster for football. The competitiveness of track soon took hold of Carr, though, and he’s been running ever since.

“The first season I came out was to get faster for football and then I just fell in love with the sport,” Carr said.

“He just worked hard and I think football helped him some,” Custer said. “I think football made him a little mentally tougher.”

Unfortunately for Carr, that toughness was required to get past a couple of nasty ankle injuries in his sophomore and junior years. The 5-11, 160-pounder suffered a third-degree ankle sprain while returning a punt in his last game as a sophomore and consequently wasn’t full strength for the track season.

The 2001 outdoor season was the same story. Carr dislocated his ankle while practicing at the high school and didn’t recover in time to make a serious impact for the Indians in the postseason.

“He should have been all-state all three years, every year he gets hurts right around the end of the season,” Evans said. “I am happy this year he hasn’t gotten hurt, because he got to shine and I got to see what he really could do.”

After high school, Carr would love to play football and compete in track. He is considering Shenandoah University and George Mason, who has a club football program.

Carr, who lives with his mother Judy, said he’d rather go away for college. However, there’s one drawback to that: Leaving his team and his family, which for Carr, is almost one and the same.

“I kind’ve want to move away, see how it’s gonna be in real life, different than under my mom,” Carr said. “But I kind of don’t want to leave my cousins and my brother.”

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