411OnTheForty: Tara Davis earns USTFCCCA, Big 12 Athlete of the Week honors

31 Mar By
UT jumper Tara Davis was named Big 12 Women's Track Athlete of the Week and U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Women's National Athlete of the Week after breaking a record had stood for 36 years (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

AUSTIN, Texas — Less than a week after breaking Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee's 36-year-old college long jump record at the Texas Relays, Texas jumper Tara Davis picked up a pair of honors, being named Big 12 Women's Track Athlete of the Week and U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Women's National Athlete of the Week.

The honor from the USTFCCCA was the first for a UT woman since 2016, when Courtney Okolo during the year in which she won the Bowerman Award, given annually to the nation's top male and female track athletes.

Davis leapt 7.14 meters (23 feet, 5-1/4 inches) at the event, making her the first collegiate woman to post a legal mark further than 23 feet. It was the fifth-best jump by an American all-time, and the longest by an American since Tianna Bartoletta's gold medal performance of 7.17 meters at the 2016 Olympics.

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Davis was on pace to break the record for the last several weeks, beginning with a record-setting indoor performance at the NCAA Indoor National Championships on March 12. She not only won the event with a mark of 6.93 meters (22 feet, nine inches), her first NCAA title, but also broke the record in the indoor event.

"It's been a long time coming," Davis told FloSports following her performance at the NCAA Indoors. "Ups and downs, injuries all over the place, and I finally got the jump I've been wishing for and praying for. It feels good to be a collegiate record holder and even touch 22 feet again."

And Davis is not done making history. No. 2 Texas hosts Texas A&M this Saturday in Austin for a dual meet, and still has five additional meets after that prior to the Big 12 Championships, set for May 14-16 in Manhattan, Kansas. There is good reason to believe this is not the last record we will see her break this spring.

Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. He currently serves as the Managing Editor of True To The Cru, covering UMHB athletics. Twitter: @ZayasRiley