Vina track star wins three state titles
VINA – Emily Davidson kept a promise, fulfilled a dream and set two school records last weekend.
The 5' 6" Vina freshman won the 800, 1600 and 3200-meter track events at the Class 1A state meet May 2-3 to become the first female athlete in school history to win an individual state championship and the first to win three titles.
Davidson, who has only participated in track for two years, said she had dreamed of bringing back a state championship and wanted to win at least one event after passing up a concert with her best friends to compete in the state meet.
"My dad has worked with me a lot, and I'm in much better shape than last year," said Davidson, who also placed second in the 4×800 relay with juniors Kayla Raper and Jessie Norwood and seventh-grader Heather Thorn to help the Lady Red Devils earn a third-place team finish. "It was my dream to win a state championship – I would have been happy with winning one of them – and my best friends made me promise to win because I missed going to a Wavorly concert with them because of the meet."
In the 800-meter run, Davidson edged Cedar Bluff's Jessica Brannon by just over four seconds with a time of 2:40.61. In the 1600 meters, which is a mile-long race, she finished in 6:09.59, nearly 15 seconds ahead of second-place Candria Dupree of Cedar Bluff. In the two-mile event, or 3200-meters, Davidson crossed the finish line in 13:47.17 to easily beat Cedar Bluff's Hannah Leach (13:56.93).
In the past six weeks, Davidson has won the 1600 (6:47.23) and 3200 meters (16:27.66) at the North Alabama Conference meet, swept the 800, 1600 and 3200 at the Franklin County meet for the second straight year and earned high seeds for state at the sectional meet.
"I knew I would have a good chance to win a championship because of my times at sectionals," said Davidson, who finished fourth in the 800 and second in the 1600 at last year's state meet.
Vina girls track coach Sonny Tibbs said he was proud of the team's success and attributed Davidson's championships to her work ethic.
"Placing third is the highest a team from Vina has finished at state track, and I'm really proud of the girls." Tibbs said. "Hopefully, the other girls will see how close we were to winning a team championship, and we'll be able to bring home a Red Map or even a Blue Map trophy next year.
"Patrick McCarley won the 400-meter dash in 2004 but Emily is the first girl to win a state championship. She works really hard – she practices here with the team and then she practices with her dad, too."
Vina principal James Pharr said Davidson's accomplishments were exciting for the school.
"We're tickled to death that Emily won three state titles and proud of all of our track athletes for going to state," Pharr said. "I thank God that he's blessed her with these talents."