Janice ranked with world’s best runners

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Natchez phenom Janice Davis’ climb up the national track rankings has been nearly as fast her 400-meter dash time.

And now she’s gone global.

The 15-year-old Natchez High School sophomore was recently ranked No. 10 in the world in the 400-meter event by the International Amateur Athletic Foundation in the junior outdoor world rankings.

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&uot;It feels great,&uot; Davis said. &uot;It’s a real motivation to rank No. 1 by the time I’m a senior, or perhaps next year.&uot;

It is obvious Davis is not one to be satisfied with just breaking the top 10. That possibly explains why she’s ranked No. 6 in the 400-meter, No. 10 in the 100-meter and No. 12 in the 200-meter in national polls.

It also possibly explains her 4.3 grade point average, her honor class schedule, her volunteer and extracurricular activities and her rigorous training schedule.

&uot;Nothing is achieved easily,&uot; Davis said, speaking with the authority of someone who has obviously taken few of the easy paths presented by life. &uot;Whether in academics or athletics, you have to work hard if it’s worthwhile.

&uot;A lot of people say that I have God-given talent, and I do,&uot; she said. &uot;But you have to work hard to enhance that talent.&uot;

Much of Davis’ time is consumed by running, she said. In addition to running cross country and track for NHS, she travels North America to attend various track meets throughout the year.

&uot;It’s like a miniature career,&uot; she said, &uot;except I don’t get paid and I do it for the enjoyment of the sport.&uot;

&uot;I may complain now and then, but I know what I have to do,&uot; she said. &uot;Get up and practice.&uot;

Davis credits her family for providing advice and motivation, and her mother specifically for the time invested in bringing her to track meets every weekend.

&uot;She says she’s okay, but I know she’s tired,&uot; Davis said. &uot;And I thank her every day.&uot;

Traveling the continent (and to Hungary next summer) makes any headaches caused by her activities to fade, Davis said.

&uot;I never thought about a vacation to Buffalo,&uot; she said, but when her miniature career brought her there, she was able to tour Niagra Falls and the attractions of the city. &uot;It’s educational. I’m getting a lot out of it.&uot;

The trip to Buffalo was also significant in that her time there in the 400-meter was fast enough to qualify her for the 2000 U.S. Olympic team. However, she unfortunately ran the time after the Olympic time trials, making her mark ineligible.

&uot;I’m young,&uot; she said, apparently non-plussed by nearly taking a trip to Sydney. &uot;I want to qualify for the 2004 Olympics. I’ll be a young 18 when that happens.

&uot;Marion Jones and Cathy Freeman will still be around, but I’ll be coming up.&uot;

And only when mentioning such track legends does the mask of the professional athlete slip long enough to reveal the excited high school student underneath.

&uot;Look at these names,&uot; she said, scrolling down a list of world rankings – a list that after Buffalo includes the name of Janice Davis. &uot;To be ranked with these people …&uot;

She blinks and moves to a different Web site, another track ranking that now includes her name in the international rankings. The professional runner is back.

And the world had better watch out.