Gainesville High School freshman Tamari Davis has been setting records before she was ten years old. Last year at 14, she set the age group world record in the 200 beating the best sprinters in the nation at the Prefontaine Classic. At the Dunamis Super Meet in Atlanta on Friday night, she broke the freshman class indoor 200m record with a time of 23.54, but she was just getting started.
The record had been held by Ashton Purvis from St. Elizabeth High School, in Oakland, California who ran 23.55. Purvis went on to run for Texas A&M University. Saturday, she kicked off the meet in the 60m prelims, blazing a time of 7.30s, another freshman national record, and a tie for the fastest time in the nation this season with Colorado's Arria Minor.
Two hours later, Davis came back and competed in the 200m final, a decision her and Coach Gary Evans weren't sure she'd do the night before. Not only did she win, she improved her record time down to 23.42s.
"Her 60m dash was impressive because it was her first one of the year," Evans said. "We decided to use the 60m prelim for a warmup for the 200m and scratch the 60m finals. I knew she could run faster in the 200m because we made a few mistake in the prelims. We have a plan and we are going to stick with it and trust the plan that God has put in our mind."
That plan is to keep her races to a minimum and work more on 400's over the course of the year. Evans knew she could handle the double because she had a good base, a longer base since she doesn't lift weights.
"We did 3 x 250 on Monday, off Tuesday, blocks, accelerations, and 2 x 40-60 on Wednesday, and traveled Thursday," he told us. "I really believe she can go sub 23, although we won't rush to get their, but we can't hold back what her legs want to do."
Davis will open up her Florida season next week either at the Charles Johnson Invitational in Tampa or George Jenkins Invitational in Lakeland and will run the 400 and 4x400 and then start preparing for New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York. How important is it for Evans to keep his standout balance her talent level at such a young age?
"It's very important to know you are dealing with a child although she is special," he exclaimed. "You cant put her in every meet that ask for her and over run her in meets. We are working slow to create something big down the road."