Wellington High School seniors Tamara and Tamya Frazier are not your typical high school students.
The 17-year-old twins both compete in track and field. They train at WHS and with Fast Lane Track Club, a travel track club, and had the opportunity to compete in the AAU Junior Olympic Games that took place this summer in Michigan.
Tamara competes in the 400-meter, 800-meter, long jump and triple jump, and qualified for the long jump and triple jump. Tamya competes in the 100-meter, 200-meter, long jump and triple jump, and qualified for the long jump, triple jump and 100-meter.
They focused on the long jump and triple jump for the Junior Olympics and stood on the podium for the Women Triple Jump 17-18 years old. Tamara placed fourth, with Tamya following close behind, placing sixth.
A triple jump has a hop, step and then a jump, where eventually, the athlete jumps into a sand pit. The long jump involves jumping off a takeoff board and soaring as far as possible into a sand pit. Both jumps require speed, skill and strength.
When they aren’t working on their jumping, they do running exercises, covering sprints and longer runs, warming up and practicing together.
But the girls weren’t always runners.
“I started my eighth-grade year of middle school at Wellington Landings. I just started for fun, just to do a sport, just to stay active. I actually really started to like it,” Tamara recalled. “Once I started winning, it was more fun. I continued and continued, and realized my abilities to go far with this… Now, I’m top four in the nation.”
Tamya started a year before, in seventh grade, and became more serious about the sport in high school when she realized that she was good enough to earn a scholarship from running.
In 10th and 11th grade, Tamya made it to state competition and is now ranked sixth in the nation for the triple jump for her age group.
Both girls had off days during the long jump, falling short of their goals. But they went back, iced themselves, regrouped and came back strong for the triple jump.
Historically, Tamya, who is older by a minute, would place ahead of Tamara. This time, though, the numbers fell in Tamara’s favor.
“What makes it so special is I was not always so fast. She always beat me in everything, all the time. I started running distance events to make me stronger and stronger. It was my last jump that put me in fourth place,” Tamara said. “I just went for it, and I wound up knocking down two people and placed fourth.”
The girls practice for the high school season and also at Fast Lane, where they’ve been working with coach Derek Walker since they were in middle school.
“They’re pretty amazing,” Walker said. “The thing is, they’ve been working for a long time to get to where they’re at. They’re just tremendous athletes. I’m pretty proud. They had to go through districts in Miami, regionals in Jacksonville and then nationals in Detroit.”
They’re the highest-placing jumpers he has ever had for his track club, and the top returning jumpers in Palm Beach County, Walker said.
His club’s goal is to help athletes get to the point where they are earning college scholarships for their hard work, dedication and athletic abilities.
Almost immediately after the girls stepped up to the podium, his phone started ringing with interest.
“I’m very proud of them, especially Tamara,” Walker said. “Tamya used to be at a whole different level than her, but she has worked so hard to get where she’s at. Now Twin 2 is jumping past Twin 1. This summer, I was so amazed at what they did to get to the level that they are and place at nationals.”
Their father, Solomon Frazier, was also impressed. Through hard work, good coaching and staying on top of everything, they were able to make it to the point where they were standing together on the podium at the Junior Olympics. “It’s amazing,” he said.
For Tamara and Tamya, who have three older siblings and a seven-year-old younger sister who wants to follow in their speedy footsteps, they’re looking forward to college, hoping for the opportunity to stay together and earn scholarships.
Tamya is interested in the University of Alabama, the University of Georgia and Florida State University, while Tamara is looking into the University of Central Florida.
ABOVE: Tamara (left) and Tamya (right) Frazier with coach Derek Walker.