Davis, Jemison fielding track team next spring

Published 2:43 pm Friday, May 31, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Jemison High School will field its first track and field team next spring for the first time in over 20 years after the announcement earlier in May. Head football coach Rishard Davis will be leading the program as the head coach, and he hopes to bring the team back to the prominence it had in the early 2000s.

While at Maplesville High School, Davis recalls Jemison fielding a track team each year. The team had some great sprinters that excelled in the sport and were among the fastest runners in Chilton County.

“I went to Maplesville, so we always knew those guys and were envious of them because we did not do track at Maplesville,” Davis said. “They had a team, but I think it fell off since the early 2000s. To my knowledge, I do not know if one of the coaches here did it for a year or two, but for them to have a steady track team it has been around 20 years.”

Davis believes that fielding this team gives every person at JHS a chance to become more athletic, especially the Jemison athletes, no matter what their primary sport is. However, while track and field is nice to do to stay in shape for other sports, Davis does not want to discredit the sport overall. It is another sport itself to do and excel at, and he hopes the students he has come out for the team love the sport and aspire to win state championships as individuals and for Jemison as a team.

Before Jemison released its students for summer break, Davis provided the student body a sign-up sheet if they were interested in the new track and field team. The list garnered 60 students that put their name down. He also has other coaches at Jemison expressing their interest in helping out with the team in an assistant coaching role.

“There is some interest and excitement (around the team), especially to those kids that do not have another hobby at the school,” Davis said. “I am willing to do this, and give these kids something else to do and another season to compete. I feel like athletes have so much down time from competing, and playing in (Class) 5A, that puts us behind the eight ball a lot.”

Davis is no stranger to starting a track and field program from the ground after playing a huge role in starting up the Maplesville program a few years ago while coaching and teaching there. The Maplesville program has continued to grow and consistently field teams, and sends a handful of athletes to the state meet each year.

Building the team at Jemison will be a bit different than Maplesville going from 15 kids to work with at the 1A school to, hopefully, 60 kids at 5A Jemison. Davis is also preparing for the costs of fielding the team, such as dues for each meet that the Panthers compete in and other track-specific expenses, with fundraiser opportunities to hopefully combat those come next spring.