When Taylor Ivins crouches down at the starting line, carefully sliding each leg into the blocks and glancing at the profiles of her competitors, she feels the assurance of having a friend nearby and she feels the flash of determination that a deep rivalry brings -- all from the glance at her younger sister, Kayla Ivins, who will be sliding herself into the blocks right next to her older sister in both the 100 and 200 at the Region 1 meet this week.
"We're totally supportive of each other" said Taylor, a senior sprinter at Fremont High School. "We give each other a hug before we get into the blocks. But we will give each other a run for the money."
"It's always a competition between me and Taylor," said Kayla, a junior at Fremont. "What's going through my head (at the line) is that I have to beat her, because I'm so competitive when it comes to her."
Taylor and Kayla have been competing against and pushing each other their whole lives. While they may not look alike, with a 5-foot-6 Taylor having blonde hair and a 5-10 Kayla having dark hair, or even act alike, ("She's very outgoing and I'm kind of shy," says Taylor), their names one-after-another on the result sheets and the time they spend together prepping for races label them as sisters.
"They call us the Ivins twins," said Taylor, who is older by just 353 days. "We're not anything alike."
In addition to their common events -- the 100, 200 and new-this-year long jump, -- Taylor will be running the 400 and Kayla will be running the 100 hurdles at region.
Their coach, Aimee Sauvageau, said the Ivins are some of the most naturally talented athletes on the team.
"It's fun to see and fun to watch the two of them together. They don't like that they beat each other, but they take pride in the fact that they compete together. They say, 'I know you're better than me at this and that,' and they help each other because they're both so good. They can make each other better," she said.
Both girls said it's an advantage to have their sister at the starting line and, more importantly, at the finish line with them.
"Having someone there with me and supporting each other is always fun," said Taylor. "I get mad a little bit, but we just like supporting each other. It's fun to see each other win."
Kayla says she's not sure what she'll do next year without her older sister to get her ready for races and help calm her nerves.
"It's competitive between us two, but that keeps us both going and succeeding and moving and becoming better," said Kayla.
While the Ivins hope to go 1-2 in their common events at region, they'll have to beat Davis's super sprinter/ hurdler Sylvia Harrison, who has the fastest times in both the 100 and 200. And while individual victories may be in their grasp, Davis's depth and star talent will most likely carry the day in the team competition.
Besides the Region 1 championship -- held at Syracuse High School at 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday -- other region competitions are also on tap.
The Region 17 meet, including St. Joseph and Layton Christian Academy, will take place today at 3 p.m. at West High School.
Distance ace Lyna Garcia will lead the girls for St. Joseph with distance runner Sam Weil leading the boys. Nick Edwards, a sprinter from LCA and Brandon Faison, also a sprinter will lead the boys with Alissa Atisme, leading the girls in the sprints.
The Region 5 meet will take place at Mountain Crest High School on Wednesday and Thursday. at 3:30 p.m. Top athletes to watch include Bonneville's Abe Weeks, Jaren Rock, Becka Johnson, Jayden Peck, Kail Chugg, Joseph Sohler, and Levi Baird; Box Elder's Michael Cruz, Adam Hendrickson, and Hannah Malone; and Roy's Cole Eisenhour, Anthony Gregory, Tiler Heiney, Bryan Rees, and Mike Lacefield.
The Region 6 meet will take place at East High on Wednesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Athletes to watch are Clearfield's hurdler Christian Coleman and sprinter Logan Rusch; and Woods Cross hurdler/sprinters Jill Richardson and Cam Dopp, as well as thrower Sosina Salima.
The Region 11 meet will be held at Stansbury High School on Wednesday and Thursday, also at 3:30 p.m Bear River, Ben Lomond and Ogden all have top athletes who will bring home some hardware, but Ogden's distance crew in both the boys and girls competitions will be tough to beat.
The Ogden girls will be led by state record holder Jamie Stokes. The Ogden boys are led by Jordon Cross in the distances, Malik Doss in the sprints, and T.J. Mafi in the throws.
Bear River's Kaitlyn Wilcox and Whitney Wilcox are strong competitors in the middle distances. Ben Lomond's Sterling Brandley in the distances and MacKenzie Abbot in the long jump, with Ben Hyer and Jake Hyer in the jumps and throws, and Sydney Bucher in the javelin are all athletes that can score points.
The state meet is set for May 18-19 at BYU.