Twins enter season with identical goals

02/18/2014 12:01 AM

02/18/2014 12:38 AM

Northeast All-American hurdler Daeshon Gordon beat her twin brother Deron Gordon into this world by two minutes and hasn’t been caught by her “little” brother yet.

After five years of being known more as the brother of his two-time defending state champion hurdler sister than his own hurdling exploits, Deron is poised to finally step out of Daeshon’s shadow.

“I have enjoyed watching Daeshon run,” Deron Gordon said. “When everybody else said, ‘what about you?,’ I said don’t worry about me. Well I knew eventually I would have to go out and do something for myself. I believe this season is my time. Everybody will see. We will be the dynamic Gordon duo.”

The storybook ending for the close-knit Gordon twins, who have been each other’s biggest supporters and near inseparable since birth, would be a joint state title celebration atop the podium at the University of North Florida in May.

Deron and Daeshon, a LSU signee, enter the season with the state’s top returning times in the 300 hurdles.

Deron Gordon clocked a personal-best 37.54 at the Region 3-4A championships last season, while Daeshon followed up her repeat state title in the 300 hurdles by clocking her own personal-best 42.15 to finish second at the Great Southwest Classic in New Mexico.

While Deron has become an academic All-American — maintaining a 4.0 GPA in AP calculus and AP physics in preparation for a post-running career in architectural design — Daeshon has evolved into arguably the nation’s top long hurdler.

Daeshon credits her success on the track to the emotional support she draws from Deron.

The twins claim to read each other’s minds at times and sense what each other is going to say. That unique bond is evident at track meets when Daeshon and Deron remain close to each other until they are called to their own races.

“Deron is my only brother so nothing can happen to him,” said Daeshon, one of Deron’s seven sisters. “I draw inspiration from the wise words he says to me. When it’s time for me to tell him something he hears me, too.

“We have each other’s backs all the time. I have cherished 18 years with him. Sometimes I get a little tired of him but when we come back on the track it reminds me why are always together.”

The twins said the longest time they spent apart was the week Daeshon left to compete at the Jamaica National Junior Championships last summer.

It was during that tournament in Jamaica where Daeshon — one of only two Florida girls to break 43 seconds in the 300 hurdles last season — started to draw a huge buzz in the IAAF Junior World track circles.

In only her third time running the 400 hurdles, Gordon set a personal-best 58.92, then the No. 3 IAAF World Youth junior time, to win the event and also finished fourth in the 100 hurdles (13.70) to qualify for the IAAF World Youth Championships in Ukraine.

That performance vaulted Daeshon atop the recruiting boards for some of the top NCAA programs. She eventually signed with national and Southeastern Conference power LSU.

Northeast coach Marshall Trace said the transfer of Deron and Daeshon from Boyd Anderson last summer gives the Hurricanes two top contenders.

Pairing Deron with holdover Darwin Colebrook should give the Hurricanes’ boys a formidable one-two punch in the sprints while the addition of Daeshon could launch the Hurricanes’ girls program to a top five finish at the state tournament.

“To be able to bring in Deron and Daeshon, who have that state experience and work ethic is huge,” Trace said. “It shows our kids who have been here for a few years the results you get from hard work. When our kids see it from their peers, it makes all the difference in the world.”

While Deron has shown flashes of brilliance — including a career-best and U.S. No. 11 time of 7.56 to finish second in the 55 meters hurdles at the Jimmy Carnes Indoor Invitational in January — he awaits that one signature victory in an elite meet which could open the door for college offers. Last season a hamstring injury at the Region 3-4A championships spoiled his bid for state gold.

Deron pulled up in the 110 hurdles and then was nipped at the line in the 300 hurdles for the fourth and final state qualifying spot.

Daeshon and Deron acknowledge this is mostly likely their last season together as teammates. While Daeshon is looking for her first state sweep in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and possibly set a state record in the latter, the ride out in the sunset together with her “baby” bro would be that much sweeter if he is holding his own state gold medals.

“My success story is the million dollar story,” Daeshon said. “Especially because I got this one, Deron, next to me. It adds to my motivation. I’m going to miss his presence. Him always being there. Wherever I went, he went.”

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