TROY, Mo. • Anna Heacock is a hurdler and jumper who is outgoing and talkative off the track. Jordan Heacock is a long-distance runner and more of a soft-spoken introvert.
As Jefferson girls coach Natalie Fallert said, the freshmen twins are not identical. If they weren't related and on the same team, they probably wouldn't even spend much time together.
“We don't really get along, said Anna, who is older by one minute and regularly reminds Jordan of that fact. “When we're tormenting my mom or my little brother, then we work together well. But when we're alone, not really.”
Fortunately for the Blue Jays, the Heacock twins also complement each other well at track and field meets. They combined to place among the top three in all six of their individual events in Saturday's Class 2 Sectional 1 competition at Troy – with Anna winning the 100- and 300-meter hurdle events and Jordan helping Jefferson win the 3,200 relay – to earn their first berths to the Missouri state championships next weekend in Jefferson City.
They also helped lead the Blue Jays to the sectional team title as they finished with 126 points to beat second-place South Shelby by 58.
“It's good,” Jordan said.
Another set of twins helped Cleveland win the boys team title in similarly dominant fashion. The Commanders finished with 105 points to best second-place Monroe City by 35.
But unlike the Heacock twins, Cleveland sophomores James and Jerald Allen are identical and essentially inseparable on and off the track. Commanders coach LeTorre Swinney said the Allen brothers “don't do anything without the other,” and the coach struggles to tell them apart.
The only distinguishing feature between James and Jerald is their hairstyles, which look the same from the front. But James has his hair short in the back, while Jerald sports a Mohawk.
“We be playing sometimes,” Jerald said. “They call one of our names, and the other one comes. They can't tell, especially when we got our headbands on.”
The Allen twins also have similar skills on the track, which they put on display Saturday. James won the 400 and placed second in the 800, Jerald won the 800 and finished second in the 1,600, and they teamed up to help the Commanders win the 1,600 and 3,200 relays.
Jerald's win in the 800 was his fourth this season against his older brother – by one minute – while James has two head-to-head wins in their shared event. Both said they feed off their sibling rivalry on the track, but they're otherwise supportive of each other.
“We compete against each other. That's how we get our edge,” James said. “We smack talk each other basically.”
The rest of the sophomore-heavy Commanders don't mind, because the Allen twins have helped put them in position to challenge for the program's first team state championship since 2012. Swinney said that will be the goal in Jefferson City, where the Heacock twins and the Blue Jays hope to make a state-title push of their own.
The Heacocks also hope to earn some individual medals like the Allens did as freshmen last year, with James placing third in the 800 and he and Jerald teaming up for a third-place finish in the 1,600 relay. But Jordan didn't sound nearly as enthusiastic about that possibility as Anna.
“Why not?” Jordan said.