Saraland’s Morgan Davis goes 20 feet, 8 1/4 inches on her second attempt in the Class 6A girls long jump Friday in the AHSAA state outdoor track and field meet in Gulf Shores, Davis’ jump set a state record for all classes. (Helen Joyce/Call News)
By ARTHUR L. MACK
GULF SHORES — Less than 24 hours after setting a new state record in the girls long jump, Saraland’s Morgan Davis cleared 6 feet in the high jump on Saturday to secure her place in Alabama prep track and field history on the last day of her high school career.
Davis’ 6-foot high jump, which came on her second attempt, made her the first Alabama female prep athlete to clear that height and break a 38-year-old record in the process. The old Class 6A record of 5-10 was set by Murphy’s Kelly Gregory in 1985.
Davis, who has signed with Kentucky, added four more individual state titles at the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s outdoor track and field championships this weekend to give her 13 for her career. She also won the 100-meter dash for the third straight year and the 200 for the second straight year.
Davis cleared 5-10 on her first attempt in the high jump to tie the record. Then, with the 200-meter dash looming, she caught a favorable break in the schedule and decided to try for the record.
She just missed clearing the bar on her first attempt but made it with about two inches to spare on the second to set off a joyful celebration.
“I knew I couldn’t think about the height, so that helped me a lot and I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself, so I decided to have fun with it,” Davis said.
Spartans coach Matt Dearmon said Davis had cleared 5-10 earlier in the year and wanted to become the first female athlete in the state to break 6 feet in the high jump.
“I am super excited she had the chance to do that on the last day of her high school track and field career,” Dearmon said.
Davis was concerned about running the 200 and high-jumping at the same time before weather delayed the meet and gave her a window of opportunity.
“I didn’t want to have to come back after the 200 and try to jump because I knew my legs were going to be dead,” Davis said.
Davis also ran the 200 in 24.06 seconds to defeat Shades Valley’s Reah DeGraffenried by .33 seconds and won the 100 to give her four individual wins in the state meet. She accounted for 40 of Saraland’s 66 points as it finished fifth.
Davis made history Friday by setting the state record for all classes with a 20-foot, 8¼-inch long jump.
Davis’ effort, which came during a slight headwind on her second jump of the Class 6A girls competition, beat the previous state meet girls and all-classes record of 20-5¼ set by Homewood’s Kiara Williams in 2015.
“I knew there was a headwind, so I was pushing extra hard and I didn’t quite meet the goal I wanted, but I’m still grateful and I know I still have more left in the tank,” Davis said.
That goal was 21 feet. Davis came close on her last jump but fouled by a fraction of an inch.
“Morgan has been working extremely hard,” Dearmon said. “She’s kind of had that goal (breaking the state record) in mind and, to be honest with you, we tried to shut her down before her last jump.
“After she broke the state record, she wanted to hit 21 (feet). I tried to get her not to take her last jump but she was bound and determined to hit that 21.”
While Davis was setting records, fellow Saraland star Ryan Williams, the state’s fastest sprinter this season and the indoor state champion, pulled up lame at the start of the 100-meter preliminaries and crossed the finish line in 11.26 seconds or 23rd place.
Williams, the state’s reigning Mr. Football, suffered a hamstring strain, Dearmon said, and was pulled from the 200 and 400 meters and the high jump as a precaution.
Williams qualified for the state meet last week with the fastest time in the 100 meters (10.69 seconds) but didn’t reach Saturday’s finals.