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Morgan Davis, the best ever from Mobile, could be in the Olympics one day


Saraland’s Morgan Davis won 56 career events, including 13 state titles. (Todd Stacey/Call News)

I told people earlier in the year and I’ll say it again — Saraland’s Morgan Davis is the most famous female track and field athlete to come out of the Mobile area.

She captured 56 individual titles during their high school career and set records that may take years, or even decades, to break.  Many say Davis is scratching the surface of her talent, which could one day take her to the Olympics.

“I look forward to turning on the TV one day and seeing Morgan on the SEC, outdoor national championship and the Olympics,” Saraland coach Matt Dearmon said. “I definitely believe she’ll be competing for our country one day.”

Semmes Middle School assistant principal Tony Guardalabene, who coached Davis as a seventh-grader, feels the same way.

“It’s not a pipe dream, this is a fact — she’ll make the Olympic team,” Guardalabene said. “She had never high-jumped before (in middle school) but wound up clearing five feet. At the time, she was playing club volleyball and she said she wanted to get better and put in the extra work.

“From middle school to high school, she went up a foot (in the high jump. The sky’s the limit for her because she’s a worker and a great student.”

Davis set a state meet record of 20 feet, 8½ inches in the long jump and made Alabama history by becoming the first female to clear 6-0 in the high jump as a senior, tying the Kentucky signee for No. 1 in the nation. She also repeated as the 100- and 200-meter state champion.

Dearmon said Semmes Middle School coach Michael Spriggs told him he was getting an extraordinary talent when she transferred to Saraland.

“I knew she was a really good jumper when she high-jumped five feet in middle school and she was hitting 19 feet in the long jump as a freshman, which is almost unheard of,” Dearmon said.

“I felt the first time I was able to see her perform, she could be Division I material. I kept up with Division I schools and looked at the standards and she was hitting some of them during her sophomore year.”

Guardalabene said Davis would’ve won the Sun Belt Conference meet and finished third in the NCAA Championships in the high jump as a sophomore in high school.

Nobody could miss Davis’ workmanlike attitude, which made her the most dominant female track and field athlete in the state.

Davis was awarded the Mobile Optimist Club’s Class 6A Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year award three straight years (2021, 2022 and 2023) and was the Mobile Challenge of Champions’ female MVP two straight years.

Davis was undefeated in the 100-meter dash in 2023, winning 11 races, won eight of nine 200-meter races and was undefeated in the long jump and high jump.

 As a junior, Davis was undefeated in the long jump and the 200 and lost only once in the 100. She was the state champion in all three events.

Davis also had 36 victories at Semmes Middle School and was undefeated in the long jump and high jump.

That competitive nature is why many say she’ll do well at Kentucky and beyond.

“I always said she was dominant but she still feels like she’s not good,” said Mashaunda Dixon, who coached Davis during summer track season and is currently Foley’s girls track and field coach. “I’ve been knowing Morgan for five or six years and what impressed me was her drive and competitive nature.”

Davis was also an excellent volleyball player but COVID-19 shut down her freshman season at Saraland and she eventually decided to concentrate on track. It was a wise decision and the rest is history.

Davis does things few others can. Aaron Moore, a St. Paul’s assistant who coached Davis during summer track, recalled the 2023 outdoor season when Davis used her right foot to take off in the long jump and her left foot to take off in the high jump.

“I’ve never seen that before,” Moore said. “It’s highly unusual. When I approached her about it, she asked me if she should change it and I told her no. She’s strong with both legs and if she was permitted to compete in five events at the state meet, the triple jump would be that event. … As an athlete, she’s exceptional. She’s humble, hard-working and she doesn’t realize how talented she is.”

Davis improved tremendously in the high jump even after taking a two-year break in the event after her freshman year at Saraland.

“Coming out of middle school, she was good (in the high jump),” Dixon said. “When she told me she was high-jumping again, I was really excited.”

Guardalabene said Davis needed help with arching but was still jumping 5-10.

“I told her mother and coach Dearmon, ‘There’s a girl who’s going to be an SEC champion,’” Guardalabene said.

Dearmon said in Davis’ first practice her senior year, she high-jumped 5-4 and knew they had to keep working on it.

“We started looking at the high-jump record and started developing a plan for the state meet,” he said. “We would have her try and clear 5-10, then 5-10½ and then six feet.”

Davis cleared 6-0 in the state meet, getting some help from weather delays which wiped out qualifying for the 200 and allowed her some extra rest.

“I think I jumped up in the air and yelled when she cleared six feet and got the record,” Dearmon said.

That win, plus victories in the 100 and 200 and her record-setting long jump, got Davis national attention. SBLive Sports named her the Female Athlete of the Week.

“If she didn’t have to run the 200, she would’ve cleared 6-1,” Guardalabene said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year nationally. She’s a hard worker and will do whatever it takes to improve.”

Moore said Davis has brought more attention to track and field in the Mobile area.

“Morgan’s a great example of what being a coachable athlete is like and I hope the younger athletes pay attention to how she prepares for meets,” Moore said.

Davis has set a high standard for others following in her footsteps, including St. Paul’s Janie Ford, Baker’s Myla Reed, Foley’s Destiny Roper, UMS-Wright’s Charles Perry, Vigor’s Jerrian Graham and Saraland teammate Ryan Williams.

“Other athletes, I think they have the utmost respect for her,” Moore said. “Athletes like Roper and Reed, I see them looking up to Morgan. It’s like they’re running against her and say, ‘If I get closer to her, then I’m doing better.’”

Those who’ve worked closely with Davis believe she will exceed all expectations at the next level.

“I’m always amazed by her,” Moore said. “She has not reached her maximum potential at all. Kentucky’s getting a gem because to go six feet (in the high jump) and not being her primary event, that’s amazing.”

Davis is a rare athlete and Kentucky could have a future Olympian on its roster and a true ambassador of the sport.

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