Eight – count ‘em, all eight – seniors will represent Blue Springs High School at Friday and Saturday’s Missouri State High School Activities Association Track and Field Championship at Jefferson City High School, but an always-smiling junior could hold the key to the team’s success.
Junior hurdler and sprinter Cori Davis – who won the 300-meter hurdles (45.89) and anchored the 400, 800 and 1,600 relay teams that all advanced to state – was a big reason the Wildcats won their second consecutive Class 5 Sectional 4 track and field meet last Saturday at William Chrisman High School.
But all she wants to talk about are her Wildcat teammates.
“I’ve just been like jumping around all week I am so excited about state and being there with all my friends, all my ladies, from our track team,” Davis said after Wednesday’s practice at Peve Stadium on the Blue Springs campus.
“Last year, we were excited about going, but this year we are all really excited because I think we have a great shot at winning state after doing so well at sectionals. I feel like all the girls who are going to state are going to earn some kind of medal and we’re all going to score points – we just need to score enough points to win.
“We’re not just going to state. We’re going to win.”
Wildcats coach Jennifer Reeder shares Davis’ optimism.
“We did a great job at sectionals,” Reeder said of the Wildcats topping Liberty 110.75 to 88. “Last year, when we won, we were a young team with a lot of good junior talent. This year, we brought eight seniors to sectionals and they all advanced. That’s pretty cool.”
Joining Davis will be seniors Natalie Sheehy and Raegan Spotts (pole vault), Sarah Coy (100 hurdles), Sy’maih Smith (100 meters), Elaina Hubner (3,200), Reggie Kanagawa and Myra Tupai (discus) and Maddie Purvis (3,200 relay). Juniors Tessa Valdivia (1,600) Koby Tyler (shot put) also advanced in individual events.
While the seniors earned their accolades, it was Davis’ continued dominance in the 300 hurdles and her success in the relay events that had the crowd buzzing.
“Cori had an amazing day,” Reeder said. “Competing in four events is difficult, but she is all about the team and getting as many team points as possible.
“It’s been fun to watch her grow this season – as a runner and as a person. She came into this season as a good leader, but for some reason, it seemed like she was holding back early in the season. We weren’t seeing the Cori Davis we’re seeing now.
“You can just tell she is more confident and she has certainly been successful. She stops by my class several times a day just to visit, and I know how important her teammates are to Cori. She wants to do everything she can to help them go out as big winners at state.”
One reason Davis got off to a slow start was the injury bug, and her string of injuries ran from the usual to the bizarre.
“Oh my goodness,” Davis said, “First, I injured my ankle like two months before the season even started in training and that put me behind. I had to work twice as hard as the other girls to be ready for the season.
“Then I had a hamstring injury at our first (indoor) meet at UCM and they said I would be out two weeks, but I was back the next Friday. I was not going to let injuries get me down.”
Then, the most bizarre injury took place when she ran one of her stiletto like fingernails over her eyeball, slicing it slightly.
“Isn’t that crazy?” she asked. “I was sleeping and all of a sudden I am in great pain and I ran my fingernail over my eye. But that didn’t stop me, either. And I had shin splints from wearing these new shoes that I got rid of right away, but I came back from all of that, and now, all I’m thinking about is state and what we can do this weekend in Jefferson City.”