Bulldog Davis gladly pays the price to excel
by Andrew Stark
Butler girls track and field standout Alexis Davis entered the 4A Western Regional last month as the meet’s top-ranked triple jumper. But after her first two jumps, she was sitting in third place and getting frustrated with her performance.
Bulldogs coach Mark Sanders told her that it just takes one jump to win, and implored her to go out and do her best. She jumped 36 feet, 2.5 inches her next attempt, claimed the regional title and, in the process, earned an automatic bid to the state championships.
Davis was the only sophomore to qualify for the state triple jump competition after being the only freshman to qualify last year.
Although she was disappointed by her sixth-place finish at the state meet this spring, Davis’ season was strong enough to help her win Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2012 Matthews-Mint Hill Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year award.
“I wanted to win states this year, and although I qualified, I know I still have a lot to improve on,” Davis said. “I want to be the best in the state and the best in the nation, so I have to put in the work.”
Sanders said a decision Davis made before spring break will go a long way toward helping her accomplish her goals in the future. Initially, Davis had plans to go to the beach with her friends during the break. But after Sanders said he would like to see her at practice, she canceled those plans and was one of the few Bulldogs to show up for optional workouts that week.
“She’s going to do what it takes to get to the top,” Sanders said. “Alexis just started the triple jump last year. A lot of these girls out here have been jumping (for) AAU and club (teams) since (they were) 13 or 14 years old, which is when you typically start jumping.
“(Davis) is strong, powerful and athletic. She works hard, and her determination and will to win have caught her up to those other girls.”
Davis said the triple jump is her best event, although she competes in the long jump and was a key member of the Bulldogs’ 4×100 relay team that finished sixth at the state meet.
“(The triple jump) is my favorite,” Davis said. “You have to be strong, and it takes a lot of coordination. Plus, in jumping (events) it’s just you. If I mess up, it is my fault, I can’t blame anybody else.”
This summer, she plans on working to improve her speed and jumps, and is looking to get back to the state championships next year – but with different results.
“I want to get better and work hard (this summer),” Davis said. “I don’t want to be sixth; I want to be first, so I know I have to train harder to get there.”