LaPlace’s Elijah Davis gears up for Junior Olympics
Published 12:02 am Saturday, June 30, 2018
LAPLACE — At only 13 years old, Elijah Davis of LaPlace is a nationally ranked track and field athlete with five AAU Junior Olympics appearances under his belt.
A record-breaking performance at the Southeastern Louisiana University Region 11 qualifiers this month earned him a spot at the 52nd annual AAU Junior Olympics, kicking off July 30 in Des Moines, Iowa.
This time, he’s going for the gold in the long jump.
With a personal best of 18’ 0.5,” Elijah is the all-time regional record holder for the long jump among 13-year-olds in Louisiana and Mississippi and currently ranked third in the country.
Elijah ranks 12th in the country in the 100-meter dash and 16th in the 200 meters, as determined by 2017 Junior Olympics results. He fell just short of final competition in the running events, which encompasses the top 8 competitors.
“There’s a lot of people running against you and a lot of heats,” Elijah said. “You don’t think it would be, but it’s a nervous feeling when you’re there because if you mess up, you’re done for the day. I want to at least make it to the finals.”
Coming into 2018 competition, Elijah has the advantage of being taller, faster and stronger than last year. His personal bests stood at 12.05 in the 100 meters and 24.42 in the 200 meters at the Southeastern qualifiers, an improvement from the beginning of the summer.
Elijah’s father, Michael Davis, is proud of him for earning a bronze medal in the 400 meters with a time of 58.35 at qualifiers, considering it was his second time running the event.
This summer, Elijah has practiced with his team, the River Parish Hornets, every Monday and Wednesday.
On Tuesdays, he runs with the City Park speed dynamics, and on Thursdays he practices with the St. John Legends at East St. John High.
River Parish Hornets runner and East St. John Preparatory Academy student Ly’Kem Thomas also qualified for national competition with strong performances in the 100 meters run, long jump and hurdles, Elijah said.
Elijah’s mother, Kameshia, said she’s proud of her son for serving as a role model to the younger children on his track and field team, which includes children ages 6 and up.
“He encourages other kids on the team because he knows the younger ones are watching him at practice,” Kameshia Davis said.
Elijah got into track and field eight years ago, first competing alongside his older cousins after his family moved to Louisiana from Kansas.
What began as recreation turned into a talent. Each year, he enjoys competing at the Junior Olympics and sightseeing in the cities he travels to.
Elijah is a rising eighth grader at St. Charles Catholic High School and a consistent honor roll student among commitments to track and field, basketball and football, according to Michael Davis.
“He’s done a great job of maintaining excellence in the classroom as well as the sports arena,” Davis said. “It does take a lot to make good grades and make A/B honor roll.”
Elijah’s family is raising money to fund transportation and accommodations in Iowa. To help, visit gofundme.com/5pq6tj4.