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Class 4A state track: Riverview cousins on a very specific treasure hunt

RIVERVIEW - The parallel paths of their childhoods often led, naturally, to grandmother's house.

Upon arriving at Tammie Liason's residence in Winter Haven, Ashley Favors and Faith Woodard - first cousins technically and siblings practically - would, with grandma's blessing, pillage her drawers and shelves for any item that seemed of value to a prepubescent mind.

"She had pencils and pens and keys and all this other stuff," Favors said. "We used to call it our collection."

Most of the escapades of that era, such as the dual birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese (their birthdays are only four days apart), are mere vestiges. But to this day, Favors and Woodard - both Riverview track standouts - remain fervent treasure seekers.

Saturday, their expedition will take them to Winter Park instead of Winter Haven. Both have a bona fide chance to get the most coveted trinket of all placed around their respective necks.

Favors, a 5-foot-6 senior, has qualified for four events at the Class 4A state meet, where she's a solid favorite in the 100-meter hurdles and a contender in the 300. Woodard, a 6-1 sophomore, has qualified for three events and is the top seed in the high jump, where she was sixth in 2010.

Fittingly, they'll cap their season on a collaborative note. Each will run a leg on the Sharks' 4x400 relay team.

"We've always been together, doing everything like sports and the reunions and stuff," Woodard said. "Our family does, like, everything together."

They are the offspring of twins. Favors' mom, Starlin, is the sister of Woodard's father, Sterlin. The families, both of which include three kids, reside only a mile or so apart in Brandon. Even the pair's athletic careers have followed essentially the same trajectory.

Both were basketball players first: Favors a slick-handed, selfless guard; Woodard a low-post force. This past season, they averaged a combined 30 points - with Woodard averaging a double double - for a 27-3 Sharks team that came within three points of the state tournament.

"I just did track to stay in shape for basketball," said Favors, an advanced-placement honors student. "I didn't run my freshman year because I thought I was too slow. I didn't do hurdles until last year; I did the 300. And then I started running the 100 hurdles in March."

She took to the 100 hurdles like she and Woodard took to grandma's cabinets.

According to Sharks coach (and 2003 Riverview alumnus) Shanna Brown, Favors broke the school record in the event her first race. It was only the second time she successfully had cleared all 10 hurdles.

"Now, to watch her run the 100 hurdles is like a work of art," Brown said.

"Actually, the 100 hurdles has become my favorite thing now," added Favors, who had a personal-best 14.16 seconds at last week's Region 2 meet at Leto.

"You get like, a rhythm going in your head and it's kind of just like, '1, 2, 3, up.' …When you start flying over them fast, I like 'em. I think it's fun."

Almost as much fun as teasing her cousin over her pre-meet ritual. Eye shadow - and lots of it.

"I always have to put on makeup," said Woodard, who recorded personal-best efforts in the high jump (5-6) and 400 (58.52) to win both events at the same region meet.

"Blue or pink eye shadow. For basketball, it's like, every game I never play without bright, bright eye shadow. I've got to have it."

Similarly, Favors will not function without her pre-meet peanut butter and jelly sandwich, no morsel of which she'll share, Woodard insists.

"She does not share for nothing," Woodard said.

And the sisterly bickering wages blissfully on.

Perhaps all the way to a medal stand.

State track championships

Where: Showalter Field, Winter Park

When: 3A, Friday; 4A, Saturday

Admission: $8 Parking: $5

Schedule: Start of field events and 4x800 relay finals, 1 p.m.; running event preliminaries, 4 p.m.; running event finals, 6:30 p.m.

Local 4A boys qualifiers: Alonso -- Jordan Davis (4x400 relay), Brandon Holloway (100, 200, 4x400 relay), Franklyn Mosely (400, 4x400 relay), William Taylor-Haynes (4x400 relay); Bloomingdale -- Jayren Barginere (800); Brandon -- Shawn Council (discus, shot put); Chamberlain -- Max del Monte (1600, 3200), Jake Covington (1600); Neil MacInnes (discus, triple jump), Grergory Shanklin (200); Gaither -- Paul Barrett (300 hurdles); Newsome -- Tourre Allen (4x100 relay), Isaac Baker (800, 4x400 relay, 4x800 relay), A.J. Dowse (long jump, 4x100 relay, 4x400 relay), Adam Mallady (4x100 relay, 4x400 relay), Justin Martinez (4x800 relay), Tyler Moriarty (4x800), Harvey Noah (4x400 relay), Michael Tourgee (1600, 4x800 relay), Aaron Wade (4x100 relay); Plant -- Brian Baird (pole vault), Wesley Bullock (4x100 relay), Antonio Crawford (4x100 relay), Forrest Fernandez (4x800 relay), Kyle Groh (4x800 relay), Rasmus Gunnerek (4x800 relay), Cedric Holloway (4x800 relay), Brenton Honeywell (4x100 relay), Connor Moore (high jump), Eric Patterson (4x100 relay), Tony Posada (shot put); Riverview -- Jarrod Edwards (100); Wharton -- Paul Pandl (800)

Local 4A girls qualifiers: Alonso -- Alisa Davis (400); Quatasia Fantroy (long jump, 200, 400); Bloomingdale -- Rachel Lassitter (discus, shot put), Sarah Waller (800);; Chamberlain -- Andrea Aaron (shot put); Freedom -- Katie Luker (4x800 relay), Alexandra Mitchell (4x800 relay), Ashley Smith (4x800 relay), Annie Tesesco (4x800 relay); Gaither -- Kiana Bryant (100), Rachel Cazares (800); Newsome -- Scarlett Fox (800); Plant -- Meredith Connelly (high jump), Ashley Cozart (triple jump, 4x400 relay), Caroline Gibson (3200, 4x800 relay), Jayne Hagan (4x400 relay), Kara Halfaker (4x800 relay), Emory Pitisci (4x400 relay, 4x800 relay), Katherine Ralston (4x800 relay), Victoria Ramos (4x400 relay), Julia Rodriguez (3200); Riverview -- Ashley Favors (long jump, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 4x400 relay), Cassidy Howard (4x400 relay), Ravyn Thomas (4x400 relay), Faith Woodard (high jump, 400, 4x400 relay); Tampa Bay Tech -- Angelina Mills (long jump); Wharton -- Mikayla Barber (300 hurdles, 4x400 relay), Taylor Griffith (4x800 relay), Erin Kocher (4x400 relay, 4x800 relay), Lauren Madsen (4x800 relay), Abby Ritter (1600), Nicole Saxton (300 hurdles), Britainey Smith (pole vault), Marissa Velez (4x400 relay), Tyler Watson (4x400 relay, 4x800 relay)