Prep star Davis stays on the run in summer AAU track program

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 4, 2000

Janice Davis plans to do a lot of running around this summer — literally. Davis, who will be a sophomore at Natchez High this fall, is set to compete in three prestigious track meets over the next two months.

&uot;It’s going to be a busy summer,&uot;&160;Davis said.

In order to build up her endurance for those meets, Davis has been competing in the 800-run instead of the 100-meters at local AAU meets.

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She will compete in the 100-meters, 200-meters and 400-meters at the national meets.

In Baton Rouge, La., this past weekend, Davis won 200-meter dash (24.30), 400-meter dash (56.10) and 800-run (2.21) in the Betty Smothers Memorial Run.

&uot;We’re trying to set Janice up for strength running,&uot; said Natchez High and Natchez USA Track coach Henry &uot;Doc&uot; Woods.

Davis, 15, will compete in the National Junior Championships in Denton, Texas the week of June 23-24. That meet is by invitation only.

The Junior Women’s Elite Meet will be held June 25 in Denton.

A solid performance at either meet could land Davis on a USA International Track Team.

Competitors from those two meets will be picked for three USA track teams, one of which will compete in Santiago,&160;Chile, another in Canada and still another in the United States.

Next month, Davis has been invited to compete in Decatur, Ill., at the National Youth Athletic Champions Meet. Davis will be competing against girls her age in that meet.

&uot;They’ve had people from this meet chosen for the Olympics,&uot; Davis said.

And because of her national competitions, Davis will automatically qualify for the USA Nationals to be held in Buffalo, N.Y., July 25-30.

Davis has also been contacted by the IAAF to try out for an international team that will compete in Hungary next year.

Which doesn’t leave a lot of free time this summer, something Davis doesn’t mind at all.

&uot;It gives me a lot of exposure,&uot; she said. &uot;And I’m able to stay in shape. I took a week off after school track and I’m starting to get back in training. I haven’t had to work too hard to get back in shape, because I was already running. And this keeps me busy.&uot;

As an eighth-grader, Davis won the Class 5A&160;200-meter dash and 400-meter dash and finished second in the 100-meter dash.

She made a clean sweep of all three events this past year.

&uot;It takes a lot of dedication and hours of practice and pain, but it pays off in the end,&uot; she said.

Davis has been competing on an AAU team since the age of five.

&uot;As I get older and start excelling more, I’m getting more opportunities on the national level,&uot; she said. &uot;It makes it all worth it. It’s always been my goal to compete in a major track meet and I just have to keep concentrating and stay serious about it.&uot;