Somewhere, deep in a faraway corner of Miller Place, are images that would be hard to believe if seen. If uncovered, they would need to be examined and scanned for authenticity. Even then, there are many who still would refuse to believe they were real.
“They’re pictures of Tiana and I coming in dead last at field day,” Talia Guevara, half of Miller Place’s talented twins, said. “I was not athletically inclined at all.”
For those who’ve coached and raced against the Guevaras for the last five years, it would be quite a debate as to which part of that statement is harder to believe: That there was a time when the twins were not synonymous with athletics, or that there is actual documentation of them coming in last in anything.
It’s been a long road since those field-day defeats, and that road has been paved with victory and triumph.
Now the Guevaras enter their final season as high school athletes. Tiana holds six individual and two school relay records. Her sister isn’t far behind.
“Talia is number two on most of those records,” coach Fran Sullivan said. “If you take Tiana out of the mix, Talia is the fastest runner ever to come through Miller Place.”
Tiana is coming off a state Federation title this winter in the 1,500 meters and is the state’s top returning finisher from last spring in the 1,500. Last June, Tiana finished third in 4:30.05, behind two seniors.
She cited breaking 4:30 in the 1,500 as a goal for this season.
Tiana credits her success with better knowledge of the sport. “I’m not as impulsive and more patient,” Tiana said. “Most of that came from experience and racing different girls. As you get older, you have to change and learn different racing styles.”
Talia would like to make the states in both the 4 x 800 relay and an individual event.
“The past four years, I’ve been more focused on heavier distance,” Talia said. “When me and Tiana were younger, we’d race each other into the ground. I’ve been doing the 3,000 and would rarely go down to the 1,500. This season, I’m going to try more 1,500 and 800, on top of my 3,000.”
The Guevaras will attend Stony Brook in the fall, choosing the local school over Syracuse. They will leave behind a legacy filled with records and county and state championships. But never ones to seek the spotlight, the twins don’t see their eventual departure as anything but a new beginning.
“After Tiana and I leave, we have an awesome set of girls that will continue the legacy,” Talia said. “We’ll be a different part of it now. We’re going to be on the outside looking in. The girls next year will push the legacy. What they do with it is what’s going to make the legacy, when they decide, ‘We don’t need the twins to push, we can push ourselves, with or without them.’ To me, that’s more of a legacy — to not have to depend on one leader . . . or two in our case.”