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TAMPA - At Tampa Bay Tech, a board inside the gymnasium lists every athlete to hold a Titan track and field record. It takes most athletes multiple seasons to make it there.
"Before I came to Tech, I always said I wanted to be on the board," sprinter LaShae White said. "I hoped to do it before the end of my career."
For White and teammate Tanesha Maxwell, it didn't take nearly that long.
In fact, they've done it as freshmen. And not just once.
In what has been a spectacular spring for both, White is on the board for her performances in the 400 meters and 4x100; Maxwell has made it for the 100, 200 and 4x100. Both standouts earned county titles last week (White in the 400; Maxwell in the 100) and each has the ability to reach state.
"They're doing a great job," TBT coach Candace Anderson said.
For White and Maxwell, two quiet 15-year-olds who smile a lot when they talk, winning is nothing new. Before arriving at TBT, they also performed well at the AAU level and in middle school, where they were once rivals.
"We used to run the 100 and 200 against each other," White said. "She always beat me. She was faster than me because she has more power. I have more endurance, and that's why I started doing the 400."
White hasn't looked back.
In the 400, her signature event, White is undefeated this season. And at last week's county meet, she finished in a personal-best 57.58 seconds. To further illustrate her athleticism, consider this: White began competing in the high jump for the first time three months ago. Today, she's already within 2 inches of tying the school record of 5 feet 2 inches.
The Maxwell has yet to lose in the 100 and earned the county title in that event by posting a time of 12.34 seconds. In the 200 at the same meet, Maxwell, who pushes herself by running against the guys at practice, was second (25.53 seconds) to heralded Wharton star Teona Rodgers, who ran 24.12.
"When she gets ahead of you," Anderson said of Maxwell, "you're done."
The success of White and Maxwell, competitors today in the Class 3A, District 10 meet at King, should come as no surprise. That's because each comes from a family of runners. In fact, both sets of parents ran track locally at county schools.
"My mom and my brother are always pushing me," Maxwell said. "They're always telling me I've got to stretch more. My mom especially. She's at all the meets."
Before White and Maxwell arrived at TBT, the program was, in Anderson's words, "mediocre." But thanks to their presence, TBT has two versatile runners around which it can build a team for the next several years. "They've changed our program," Anderson said. "We're infinitely better ... and destined for bigger things."