Click here to register for Flo Golden South (closes Wednesday May 25th @ 11:59pm EST)
*Flo Golden South will be streamed live on MileSplit*
Tamari Davis is only a 7th grader, but Saturday she will line up next to girls four and five years older at Flo Golden South. Davis isn't threatened though, feeling as if she belongs right next to them, and says she's been working hard to run at this meet where she failed to qualify for the finals last year running 12s. We caught up with her Coach Gary Evans to talk about this special athlete and her preparation for the weekend.
Flrunners.com: Tamari is coming off of a sweep in the 100 and 200m dash at the FLYRA Middle School State Championships where she set meet records in both with times of 12.15 and 24.33. What has her training been like the last two weeks?
Coach Gary Evans: Tamari's training has been going well since the state meet. We still have to take an extra day off then our normal two days off during the week because of growing pains, but other then that training has been great. I train Tamari as a 13 year old. No weights, supplements, or five days a week practice. She is 13 and likes to play with her friends and brother, Facebook and enjoy life as a child.
FLR: How important is that to just let the process play out and not rush anything despite how good she is?
GE: I don't care how fast she runs now no college is going to offer her a scholarship at this age. Having trained top athletes like Xavier Carter at a young age, I know not to over work the athlete and take them to every track meet in the world. Go to the ones that count. You have to leave room for improvement at the next level whether it's high school or college.
FLR: Last year, Tamari ran 12.00 at Golden South as a sixth grader and didn't advance to the finals. She owns personal bests of 11.77 and 24.32 from 2015 as well. What are your goals for her this weekend and down the road?
GE: My goals for Tamari are to have fun and learn the sport. it's to early to be thinking about scholarships and colleges, Heck, she still has another year to go before high school. I'am so glad her parents trust me with her. Her mom drives to Clermont twice a week so I can work with her and my other coach staff does a great job with her on the other day. So it's a team effort for her success so far.
FLR: I heard she told you she wanted to run sub 24s this year?
GE: Tamari said coach I want to go sub 24 this year and do good at the Golden South meet I told her just run, you don't have anything to loose little lady your in the 7th grade. Trust me they are going to be running hard because they don't want a 7th grader beating them, but whether you go sub 24 or not have fun because you've had a great season already.
FLR: Lastly, how would you describe Tamari Davis?
GE: A smart, funny, lovable, and gifted 13 year old CHILD.