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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Fastest House in the world

Photo by Cody Franklin

Shavez Hart, Bralon Taplin and Deon Lendore leave A&M with record-holding track records.

Each duplex, townhome and apartment in College Station represents its own little family made up of students — many of whom are away from home for the first time — brought together by happenstance and necessity, people bound by friendship and a 12-month lease. This is a picture of one those little mismatched families. This is a picture of three friends from three places who wound up at Texas A&M. Three friends who, in a few days, will graduate and go their separate ways.
This is the story of Bralon Taplin, Deon Lendore and Shavez Hart, three graduating seniors who are just like the rest of us, with one exception: They are all very fast, and they know it. 
“We’re the fastest house in the world,” says Hart as the three friends all share a laugh. The three senior sprinters are seated together at the outdoor track facility across the street from Blue Bell Park. Practice is going to start soon. The SEC Championships begin Thursday and expectations are high for the top-ranked men’s track and field team. This trio of friends is responsible for both setting and upholding these lofty expectations.
“That should be your title right there,” adds Taplin as Lendore uses his hands to paint the headline in the sky. When Deon finishes his grand hand gesture, he shares his masterpiece, “The fastest house in the NCAA, the fastest house in College Station.” He barely finishes before the other two correct him. “The world,” they say. “The fastest house in the world.” 
Taplin, Lendore and Hart have each spent time atop the world leaderboard in their respective events — the 400-meter dash for the first two and 100- and 200-meter sprints for Shavez. Along with fellow senior Gregory Coleman, all three were a part of A&M’s indoor 4X400 team, a team that has broken the collegiate record twice and currently owns the fourth best indoor time in the world with a time of 3:02.68. 
Each has been named SEC Runner of the Week multiple times this season. They have won national championships together. Lendore is a former Bowerman award winner ranked third in the world in the quarter mile. Hart guarantees that he’ll soon boost a sub-10-second performance in the 100-meter dash, although his current personal best time is already 10.10, a time that would make most sprinters very jealous. 
Few other sprinters of their caliber share a home with anyone, much less each other. This, of course, means one would be hard pressed to find a faster household anywhere else, but it also means that some of the trio’s stiffest competition comes from within the walls of their own humble abode. A poor showing in practice or a bad loss in something as trivial as a game of Call of Duty or FIFA is all it takes to land in the doghouse at home.
“We usually gang up or pick on somebody to [to do all the chores],” explains Lendore.
Taplin jumps in to elaborate before the others interrupt him, “If we have a better track meet than you had, then…”
“It’s over. It’s all over,” Lendore and Hart finish his sentence because they know the drill.
“If you have a bad game we’ll go tell you to wash your wares because you’re a loser,” says Lendore. “It’s all about how you perform. That decides if you’re going to have to do the dishes or not.”
This is the way that it has been for the past two years, but change is coming. The three friends represent three different nations in international competition. Lendore and Hart represent their home nations of Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas. Taplin grew up in Texas, but he runs for Grenada, the land in which his grandmother was born. For the past few years, the three pals have run together under a maroon banner. Soon, they’ll be lining up against each other as rivals with individual accolades and national pride on the line, stakes much higher than dishwashing duties. 
Inevitable change can make many students sentimental as graduation nears. Seniors try to anticipate the things they’ll miss about college as they gain a new appreciation for what is and what was. 
The three sprinters are no different. They talk about how much they’ll miss competing together as a team, chasing records and national championships. They talk about how much they’ll miss living together, how boring it is when they travel alone and how weird it’ll be to wake up without someone blaring loud music outside their room. They talk about how they met and what they used to think of each other before they all moved in together. They laugh and cut up and chide each other like old friends who’ve known each other forever. 
When asked if they’ve ever needed a break from each other, Taplin speaks for the group: “We’re like brothers … You never get tired of your family. I’ll never get tired of these guys.”
Things are not over for the three brothers yet. Just because they’ve slipped into a bout of sentiment doesn’t mean they’ve lost focus. They still have three more track meets left in their collegiate careers,  and three more chances to hand the baton off to each other before going their separate ways. They all agree that they won’t be satisfied without another national championship and a few more shots at breaking the outdoor 4×400 relay record, the great white whale that has thus far eluded them.
“We’re going for it,” they all say in solemn agreement. 
This is their last hurrah, their Elephant Walk. For most, the last lap is just a metaphor, but it is a literal reality for these three friends. Bralon Taplin, Deon Lendore and Shavez Hart are three graduating seniors just like everyone else, but with one exception: They are all very fast, and they know it.

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