Perhaps nothing better exemplifies the difference between siblings Larry and Tiffany Evans than a recent visit to their father in Georgia.
Two of Gar-Field’s finest track athletes had accidentally taken a bus to Florida instead of Georgia and had to scramble to get their father to come and pick them up at a bus station in Miami. Larry was freaking out while Tiffany was trying to be professional with the bus employees.
“What are we doing in Florida? We were supposed to be going to Georgia,” related a laughing Larry, who was speaking to the bus clerk at the time. “She said, ‘I don’t know what’s happening’ and I said ‘you need to get it straight’. I was like ‘my dad’s not going to come up there and get me, and ‘I can’t stay here overnight’.”
“We called my mom [in Virginia] and she talked to me and she was like, ‘how was your brother,’ and I was like, ‘he’s acting crazy’,” Tiffany said. “She was like ‘I am glad I got one serious person in the family’.”
The more reserved Tiffany, a junior shot putter and the gregarious Larry, a senior high jumper, have the same idea when it comes to track, though: Winning more events than the other.
Larry took his first district title in the high jump with a personal best leap of six feet, four inches at the Cardinal District meet on Feb. 6 at Forest Park. He also finished second in the triple jump.
On the same day, though, Tiffany won her second consecutive district title in the shot put.
Last spring, Larry was all-state in the high jump and was All-Northwest Region in the triple jump. Tiffany was district and region champion and was all-state in the shot put for both the indoor and outdoor meets. She was also all-district and all-region in the discus last spring.
“He’s trying to get more medals than me but that ain’t gonna happen,” said Tiffany.
“I m going to be doing like four events in outdoor, I am gonna catch up,” Larry giggled.
The summer before Tiffany’s freshman year and Larry’s sophomore year, they moved up to Virginia with their mother, Renita Hills, from Albany, Ga. After throwing shot put in middle school, Tiffany almost didn’t participate in track once she got to Gar-Field. However, Custer found Tiffany playing volleyball her freshman year and suggested that she come out for track.
Custer knew she had the talent to be a highly successful thrower. But it was her work ethic that stood out the most.
“The thing about her that was impressive was we told her you have to hit the weight room, get stronger over the summer,” Custer said. “She did, and from freshman year to sophomore year, she lost 20, 30 pounds. She didn’t get much stronger…but she lost 30 pounds of weight which is big because you have to big quick in the circle.”
Larry had played football and dabbled with track in middle school before jokingly agreeing to come out for the Indians’ team during the spring of his sophomore season.
“I really didn’t think about track till I got up here,” Larry said. “My sister was doing it and I was like ‘Coach [Jeff] Custer, I am going to come out and do high jump for you.’ I was just joking and I came out anyway and did it and ended up doing good at it.”
Jumping has always been natural to the lanky Georgian, though, who also plays basketball in the winter for the Indians. That leaping ability has made Larry the school’s unofficial acrobat, as well.
“He has the potential to be a 7-2 high jumper because he can do backflips, he can do 10, 15 backflips in a row, roundoff and land on his feet,” Custer said. “He just did one at the pep rally.”
For both Evans, the athletic pedigree is there to be successful. Their mother was an exceptional high school track athlete –participating in everything from the 220 to high jump to the shot put. She was a state champion in Georgia in the 220 and was undefeated in the event till her senior season.
However, she never attended college and Larry wants make sure that doesn’t happen to him.
“What my mom couldn’t do, I just want to try to make that happen,” Larry said. “…I like it [track] but I’d rather do this for her than do this for me.”
“My mom said he has the ability in basketball but he’s gifted in track,” Tiffany added.
Both Tiffany and Larry want to participate in track in college. Larry is looking at Bridgewater College for both sports as well as Virginia Tech and Virginia for track. Until Larry decides, though, the self-proclaimed “clown” will have his sister to keep him in line.
“I got a funny streak but I am more serious than he is,” Tiffany said.
“Way more serious than I am,” corrected Larry. “I just like making people laugh. To tell you the truth, if I can make one person laugh every day, that makes my whole day go a whole lot smoother.”