Like father, like son

By Bruce Mason, Special Writer

PUBLISHED: June 21, 2007

For Varick Tucker, Jr. the quick, galloping stride around the rubber track is something in his genetic make-up. After all, his father, Varick Sr., was a track athlete at Eastern Michigan University.

But with or without the family bloodlines, Tucker has a focus and determination to work hard at becoming a better runner.

He finished in fourth-place for Belleville in the 400-M dash at the MHSAA Division 1 track & field championships held at East Kentwood high school in Grand Rapids on June 2.

At the regional meet this season, before the state finals, Tucker broke a school record with a finishing time of 48.24 seconds.

Belleville boys' track coach George Devore credited Tucker's work ethic for his strong running.

He's focused, Devore said. He's the one that prepared the most I'd say, (and) he really wants to do well. His dad motivates him.

Tucker and his father run at either Ypsilanti Lincoln high school or at Belleville throughout the year. In the winter, they train at either U-M or Eastern Michigan indoors.

Tucker is working on the 200-meter dash and 800-meter run right now, as well. His best time in the 200-meter dash, which came in the 800-meter relay, was a 21.7. His best time in the 800-meter run, which Tucker Sr. specialized in college, was a 1:57.

The school record for the 200-meter dash is 22 seconds, and for the 800-meter run is 1:55.

I've been training a lot, Tucker said. Putting in extra hours--speed work and distance work. I think I can do it.

This past Sunday, Tucker recorded a time of 48.9 seconds in the 400-meter dash at Southfield High School. With that mark, he will now move onto Dublin, Ohio in the upcoming weeks to try and qualify for the AAU Nationals in Knoxville, Tennessee in August.

And that's not all. Tucker will also run at Canton High School in the upcoming weeks in an effort to move onto the junior Olympic regionals at a location in Illinois. From there, if he hits his mark, Tucker will compete in the Junior Olympics in Walnut, California in the last week of July.

(I'm) trying to go to 46 (seconds) in the next two weeks, Tucker said. My main goal is to run 45 in the 400.