Jarvion Davis embraced track and field wholeheartedly when he was 13 years old.
So much, in fact, that he would run on just about any surface.
That certainly was the case the previous two years when Davis attended Kate Bond Middle School. The Bartlett-area institution was only a few months removed from having opened for operations and, although the school had formed a track and field team, it did not have its own track.
Kate Bond’s lack of resources for its athletes, nonetheless, did not prevent Davis from having an immediate impact, thus evolving into one of best distance runners on the squad. To his credit, Davis helped propel the program to back-to-back state finals appearances, where it placed first in the 3,200-meter relay and third in the 1,600-meter relay last year.
“In the 3,000 (meter relay), I’ve never lost,” Davis said. “And the hurdles seem easy to me because I know how to take off.”
The 15-year-old Davis has progressed remarkably in his brief time on the track, in large part because he had devoted much time to the sport long before became a newcomer to Cordova High’s varsity team this year. For starters, Davis took part in regular year-round workout and conditioning sessions at Whitehaven and Halle Stadiums, where he customarily ran bleachers and performed an assortments of exercises to strengthen his legs as a distance runner.
“When you train by yourself, you can focus on what you’re doing and focus on getting your time down and beating your time,” Davis said.
And then there are a number of advantages to training with more experienced athletes, something Davis will find out as the 2014 season approaches.
“Some of my teammates might be better than me, so they can teach me and show me new things,” Davis said. “I didn’t learn as much in middle school. My main goal heading into this is to accomplish a championship and try to be faster than people who are older than me.”
As usual, Davis expects to compete in the 100-meter hurdles, the 1,600-meter run, and 3,200-meter relay this year for the Wolves track and field team, but said he doesn’t plan to concentrate on the 1,600-meter relay, as he has done in year’s past. Also, he hinted the possibility exists that he could make his debut in the 800-meter run.
He said what he deems mostly intriguing about Cordova’s track and field program is that in addition to the school having a top-notch facility where athletes can upgrade their mechanics, his contributions will ultimately translate into him possibly earning a college scholarship.
“It’s better because last year at Kate Bond, we didn’t have a track,” Davis said. “We practiced in the back of the school. Kate Bond was right next to Kate Bond Elementary and what we did was run around both schools about two or three times. It felt like about four miles. The long distance runners did every practice. It made my legs stronger, controlled my breathing, and strengthen my legs as a distance runner.”
That Davis has flourished on the track in such a brief time shouldn’t come as a surprise, given his mother, April Davis, who was a sprinter for Whitehaven High’s track and field team from 1997-1999. A longtime emergency medical technician, April Davis makes a point to attend each meet to watch her son in action.
“Even if I’m at the fire station, I always make time to have my shift covered to make his track meets,” she said. “I never miss a meet. He’s always been the smaller child.”
When her son first informed her that he wanted to pursue track and field, April Davis admittedly wasn’t sold on his plea to follow in her footsteps.
“He always been the smaller child,” she said. “Everybody was mostly taller than him. And when he said he wanted to run track, I was like ‘I don’t know’ because of his height. I always thought runners were tall. I was scared for him. So I went ahead and let him run in the seven grade and he did well.”
Among the memorable highlights for someone who is relatively new to the sport was winning an open hurdles competition last year at Kate Bond, a feat that caught his mother by surprise, considering she sensed he was too short to compete in such an event.
“That threw me off because he runs distance,” April said with smile. “You know how mothers can be. It was a lot different than what he’s used to running. I trusted the coach even though I was a nervous wreck.”
Now in his first full season on a varsity track team, April Davis relishes the notion that her son has found his niche in the sport in wish she once took part. Looking ahead, she said her primary focus is help her son acquire more exposure through joining an AAU team this summer.
“He has asked me about that,” she said. “This summer, I plan to get him involved in it. I think it will benefit him as far as track and field, especially is he wants to make a career out of it. In the beginning, he was all over the place, especially the way he was holding his hands. He’s come a very long way since he started in the seventh grade. He’s gotten a lot better.”
Let alone embraced the sport wholeheartedly in the process.