Freshman Darius Carbin and sophomore Keenon Laine have a nickname no one knows exists.
One day, Laine came up with “Double Trouble” to describe the Georgia high jumping duo that has been rewriting Georgia’s record books this season. Until now, the two had been keeping the nickname low-key as they were waiting for it to grow on them.
As the Bulldogs compete in this weekend’s NCAA indoor championships, where the men’s team finished day one in a tie for ninth, the duo is ready to debut the name. On Saturday afternoon, Laine and Carbin will participate in the high jump.
“Expectations are high. They both know it, and they both want to be good,” head coach Petros Kyprianou said. “That’s why they are here and that’s why they push themselves on a daily basis.”
Carbin and Laine both cherish their relationship because it has provided them with an experience neither of them had felt before in their lives: someone who can match their height in the air.
“It’s nice having a training partner because I never really had someone else that could jump with me,” Carbin said. “In high school, I was standing out of everyone. I didn’t really have any competition at regular meets or at my school.”
Kyprianou said these two have not been separated from each other since they arrived on campus, describing them as being “attached at the hip.” Often, “Double Trouble” arrives to practice walking side-by-side and laughing.
Carbin’s career started one day during recess in sixth grade when one of his teachers approached him and asked, “Why don’t you try a track meet?”
His teacher had noticed, throughout PE and recess that year, that he enjoyed running and jumping. So, he gave the meet a chance. Carbin ended up coming in first and walking away from the meet laughing and saying, “I guess I’m pretty good at this.”
During his high school career, Carbin did just about every kind of jumping event offered. When he first started competing, his favorite event was the long jump. It wasn’t until he got older that he started pursuing the high jump.
Out of high school, Carbin was ranked the No. 1 high jumper in the country. His high school personal-best jump was a mark of 7 feet, 4.50 inches, which came in a runner-up performance at the 2016 World Youth Championships. More than just a personal best, this mark became the eighth-best mark in United States high school history.
The transition from high school to college has been seemingly easy for Carbin as he produced two first-place finishes in his first three collegiate meets. Carbin began his career at Georgia with a jump of 7 feet, 2.50 inches, which was a mark Laine touched in the same meet.
Laine hit the mark just before Carbin, and once Carbin did so, Laine was lost for words.
“Oh my god man that was insane for real,” Laine said. “It didn’t show on my face but I was in awe because I really love this team. And it’s a big eye-opener to show that I’ve got this kid, he’s a freshman and he’s just coming in balling like crazy. That pushes me to do better for him.”
As a freshman, it’s normal to be a little nervous for a meet, but Carbin has never been the type of person to feel jitters, which may be why he has been successful early in his career.
“He’s a southern California laid back guy,” Kyprianou said. “You can’t get him stressed out unless he’s really hiding it, which I don’t think he is. He’s just a cool guy from a very cool family. He’s just riding the ride.”
At the Razorback Invitational in late January, Carbin not only picked up his second first-place finish of the season, but he also launched himself up to No. 2 spot in the school record books with a height of 7 feet, 3.25 inches. It was the highest mark since 1995 for a Georgia athlete.
Carbin’s performance this season and the resume he had coming into college has helped Laine get his skill up to the next level, too. Soon after they arrived to campus and found out they were rooming together, Laine decided to look up Carbin’s statistics. He was pleasantly surprised.
“I was like, ‘Oh shoot, this kid got bunnies,’” Laine said. “I’m [going to] have to try harder now.”
Laine had a different kind of come-up throughout his track and field career than Carbin. Track and field runs through Laine’s blood; his mother, Komicsa Laine-McCree, and uncle, Gordon Laine, were both collegiate track and field athletes.
Laine’s mother ran at Middle Tennessee State and his uncle jumped at Western Kentucky. Laine began his collegiate career at Western Kentucky, following in his uncle’s footsteps. As a freshman he earned First Team All-America honors.
However, Laine, who said he was not on full scholarship at Western Kentucky, transferred to Georgia after his freshman season.
“I just didn’t want my parents to come out their pocket anymore just to put me through college,” Laine said.
Laine’s mother said she was all for her son’s transfer. Georgia was love at first sight for her. Additionally, she loved the message Kyprianou shared with them about her son’s potential and how he could contribute to the team.
In his first meet, Laine tied his personal best with that jump of 7-2.50. Following the Orange & Purple Classic, Laine saw a slight decline in his production.
He placed third at the Texas A&M Quad Meet with a mark of 7-0.25 and followed that performance up with a fourth place finish at the Razorback Invitational with a jump of 7-1.04 Laine’s best performance of the season came at the Music City Challenge at Vanderbilt. There, Laine finished in first place with a mark of 7-3.25, setting a new personal best and tying Carbin for second on Georgia’s all-time list.
When they’re not pushing each other to jump higher, Laine and Carbin can be found either dancing or playing Call of Duty Black Ops III.
In terms of who’s the better dancer, to them it is clearly obvious.
“Aw that’s definitely me, come on now,” Laine said.
Carbin politely agreed, but did say he is the better Call of Duty player. Regardless, the relationship Laine and Carbin have obtained through track and field is something far greater than either could have imagined.
“I’ve got a big brother figure to him, and I’m trying to take care of my little brother so I’m trying to bring him along with me,” Laine said.
Carbin recently took home the SEC indoor championship in the high jump, but he didn’t have to jump his highest to do so, which came as a shock to him and took away from some of the excitement.
“I was excited, but not excited as I could’ve been because the height that I jumped,” Carbin said. “I feel like if I could’ve jumped higher I would’ve been more excited. The jump to win was 2.18 (meters) and I thought it was going to end up being higher than that so I was just like, ‘OK.’”
Regardless, Carbin has moved on from the SEC championships and is now prepared to take on the best of the best in the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, this weekend.
“Now it’s the NCAA championships, we’ll see what he’s made of,” Kyprianou said. “He’s definitely got the heart and brains to respond to any challenge and it’s my job to make sure he’s prepared to fight those guys.”
Carbin, of course, won’t be alone this weekend. His counterpart, Laine, has punched a ticket as well by finishing in second place at the SEC indoor championships. At NCAAs, the duo who will again try to finish one-two on the podium.
If they do so, maybe “Double Trouble” will stick.
Here is a link to the original story: http://www.redandblack.com/sports/darius-carbin-and-keenon-laine-form-double-trouble-for-georgia/article_074f8efa-0672-11e7-b418-f73f9b4a9995.html