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Standout twins powered DeKalb County’s State Track medal haul, setting records

By Mark Brock Athletics Specialist, DCSD

A pair of twins powered the medals that DeKalb County earned at the GHSA State Track Championships, with DeKalb teams bringing home a total of 46 state medals from meets held May 11-13. Druid Hills twin sisters Sanaa and Sole Frederick and Southwest DeKalb twin brothers Isaiah and Xzaviah Taylor played big roles in DeKalb County’s medal hauls and record- setting marks throughout the various classifications.

The group combined to be part of 13 of the 46 total medals and six new state records set by DeKalb County athletes in individual and relay events over the three days of state competition. Over the years, DeKalb has featured standout twins and triplets competing in various athletics including track, softball, basketball and baseball but this group stands amongst the best ever combining for 25 total individual and relay medals over the past three years.

The Taylor twins come by some of it naturally as the seniors are the sons of former Southwest DeKalb state and Olympic champion DeAngelo Taylor. The pair missed their freshman year due to the cancellation of athletics in the spring of 2020 but have made up for it over the past three seasons. “They ran in two meets their freshman year before Covid caused the cancellation of the rest of the season,” said Southwest DeKalb track coach Bob Mullen. “They were running the same times as the varsity players that early in the season and I feel they would have made it to state that year.” Isaiah and Xzaviah have combined for nine individual medals and part of five gold medal relay teams. Isaiah has five individual medals (3 gold, 2 silver) while Xzaviah has one silver medal and three bronze. The pair have been a part of three consecutive 4×400-meter relay gold medal winning teams including this year’s record setting squad (3:10.55) with Therrian Alexander and Xavier Turner.

The team broke the 36-year-old record of 3:13.21 set in 1987 by another Southwest DeKalb team consisting of Rodney Hooks, Kelly Carter, Hason Graham and Eddie Miller. “Most people haven’t seen their work ethic and effort they put into improving themselves,” said Mullen. They wake up early in the morning and run, they workout and run on the weekends and have been a major influence and part of these back-to-back state championships.”

Isaiah was part of the 4×100-meter relay state champion team in 2021 and finished second in the 110-meter hurdles while Xzaviah was fourth in the 300-meter hurdles and was on the 4×400 relay squad with Isaiah that took the gold. The Panthers finished ninth in state that season.

In 2022, the pair combined to account for six gold medals as Southwest DeKalb won the DeKalb County Track Championships for the first time since 2018 as precursor to winning the 2022 Class 5A state championship. The pair had a combined three individual medals (Isaiah 1 gold, 1 silver; Xzaviah 1 bronze) and played a hand in three gold medal relay teams including the 4×100 (Isaiah), 4×200 (Xzaviah) and the 4×400 (both). This year they aided two big comeback victories in both the DeKalb County and Class 4A State Championships. Isaiah (2 gold in 110 and 300 hurdles) and Xzaviah (1 gold) were again key in the county title including record setting relay teams in the 4×200 (Xzaviah) and 4×400 (both).

Isaiah swept the hurdle events at state this year including a record setting time of 35.94 in the 300 hurdles that is also the top time in the U.S. this year. Xzaviah grabbed a silver in the 300 hurdles behind his brother and brough home a bronze in the 400-meter run and was part of the record setting time of 1:25:13 in the 4×200. The pair also aided the state record-setting time of 3:10.55 in the 4×400 relay.

“Their accomplishments have been tremendous to our program attracting more students to the meets along with showing how hard work pays off,” said Mullen. Both, Isaiah and Xzaviah, have signed to run at North Carolina A&T University next year.

Frederick twins raising bar at Druid Hills Druid Hills’ twin junior track stars Sanaa and Sole Frederick are raising the bar for the Lady Red Devil track program and pulling their teammates along with them. “Sanaa and Sole have been very instrumental in the Druid Hills track and field program over the past three years,” said Druid Hills track coach Henrietta George.

“They work hard and never make excuses and their presence creates a positive atmosphere in practice and at the meets.” The pair helped lead the Lady Red Devils to their first ever DeKalb County Track and Field Championships title this year following back-to-back fourth place finishes in 2021 and 2022.

Sanaa repeated her sweep of the 100 (11:46) and 200 (23.45) setting new county marks in each of the races while Sole ran to silver in the 200 just behind her sister and took silver in the 400-meter dash. Sanaa and Sole also were part of the 4×100 and 4×400 relay gold winning teams. The 4×400 win decided the 2023 Napoleon Cobb DeKalb County Track and Field Championships title giving the school its first ever win in the championships.

Sanaa was named the Roslyn Wallace Outstanding Girls’ Performer. Their teammates are encouraged and motivated to break records and soar higher by seeing the twins achieve greatness,” said George. “Every day they figure out how to improve their performances.

They are humble, but also the hardest on themselves because they aim to please.” Fans witnessed an exciting 200-meter dash battle between the sisters at the Class 4A Girls’ State Track Championships. Sole defeated Sanaa by 0.01 of a second setting a new state record of 23.52 in the prelims on Friday.

Sanaa’s time of 23.53 also bested the previous state record of 23.64 set by Chamblee’s Mary Ann Erigha 20 years ago. Sanaa came back on Saturday to break Sole’s record by running a 23.39 to set the new standard in the event as she got past Sole by just 0.02 of a second. Sole’s time of 23.41 also bester her own mark from the prelims.

The 200 win gave Sanaa a sweep of the 100 and 200 events for the second consecutive year including also setting a record in the 100 of 11.41 to break the 36-year-old mark of 11.50 set by Butler’s Anita Howard in 1986. The pair teamed with Jadyn Bolden and Miya Carthan for another state record, winning the 4×100-meter relay in a time of 45.74 to break the mark of 45.91 set in 2015 by Baldwin. The same four also won gold in the 4×400 relay (3:49.85).

Sanaa now has four state gold medals (2 in the 100 and 2 in the 200) along with a bronze (100) and silver (200) in 2021. Sole’s state medal collection stands at wo with the silver (200) and bronze (400) this year. The wins also hold a gold in the 4×100 relay from 2002 along with a silver in the 4×400 the same year and bronze in the 4×100 in 2021.

Six individual state medals now reside in the hands of the Fredericks as well as five as part of relays making the pair responsible for 11 over three seasons and more to come in 2024. “Their presence has brought the track and field program to an appreciable level and we are working towards a state championship,” continued George. “They are not only excellent athletes but they are great students in the classroom as well.”

The pair has received scholarship offers from Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and LSU amongt many others as they head toward their senior year at Druid Hills. Mark Brock is the athletics specialist for the DeKalb County School District’s Athletics Department. Photos provided by Mark Brock.

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