Wiregrass Ranch's recent surge to a Sunshine Athletic Conference girls track title was propelled in part by twin engines that rarely stop running — on or off the track. Get sophomore siblings Toni and Marissa Tomei (she has one more "s" in her first name than the Oscar-winning actress) going on a subject — any subject — and they're hard to stop. They are chatty, gregarious, athletic, affable, but mostly harmonious. Ask their birth date, and they respond Aug. 30 in high-pitched unison. Ask their birthplace, and they say Seattle in synch. Eye color? Brown is the answer in giggly accord. But get them on the track, and each is clearly her own person. Toni is the better sprinter; Marissa is stronger in the middle distances. Combine their qualities, and the result is a bunch of points for the Bulls in most meets. "They're like the glue," Bulls coach J.R. Haworth said. "They're not our fastest. Elyse (Houston) is the fastest and Kelsey (Sturman) is the strongest in the 400 and Elyse again in the 200. But they're like the glue that holds everything together. Without them, we just don't make it go." Here's a look at the girls off whom the Bulls are making a — pardon the pun — twin killing this season.
Toni Nicole Tomei
How you tell her apart: She's the one without the dimples, and is a hair taller than Marissa. Additionally, "people say our noses are different," Toni says.
At the SAC meet: Placed fifth in the 100 meters (12.91 seconds), ran the second leg on the 4x100 relay team that placed second (51.02), placed 10th in the 200 (27.75). Including relays, contributed eight team points.
Other sport: Swimming. Was a member of the Bulls' 200-yard freestyle relay team that placed fourth at districts. Also placed seventh and 12th, respectively, at districts in the 50 and 100 freestyle.
Did you know: Toni is the younger of the two, by three minutes, but boasts that she's the one who takes the AP and honors courses. … Toni says the longest she and her sister have been apart was last summer, when Marissa attended a weeklong running camp. "It was really quiet at my house," Toni said. "I had, like, nothing to do. I just sat around and watched TV and then I'd laugh about something and be like, 'Marissa … oh wait, she's not here.' "
Marissa Risanne Tomei
How you tell her apart: The facial dimples
At the SAC meet: Placed sixth in the 400 meters (1:04), eighth in the 200 (27.58), and ran the first leg on the triumphant 4x400 relay team (4:11.33). Including relays, contributed 14 team points.
Other sport: Cross country. Placed 18th at the Class 2A, District 3 meet (22:10.19).
Did you know: Marissa seems to relish the fact she nearly shares the same name as the star of such films as The Wrestler and My Cousin Vinny. "Even the lunch ladies are like, 'Ah, Marissa Tomei, that's so cool,' " Marissa said. "She's kind of like, the other generation. Our generation has never heard of her or anything like that. But it's really cool. I like it." … Though most who know the twins have learned to distinguish them, Marissa and Toni say to this day their paternal grandfather can't tell them apart.
Joey Knight can be reached at [email protected]