For McCormick high-jumper Jordan Brown, a state title is standard. She won a title last year, and repeated her sophomore year with another title in the high jump.
“It’s just about winning state again, and it feels the same as it did a year ago,” Brown said.
It’s the same for Brown’s teammate Tykema Davis, who came away from the state championships in Columbia with a second straight title of her own in the shot put.
“It was more motivation this year, I could tell, because there were more (McCormick athletes) out there, so I guess because there’s more people out there we had more chances at winning more events,” Davis said.
Brown and Davis have been chosen as the Index-Journal’s Co-Players of the Year for girls track in the 2018 season. Both athletes highlighted a successful season for the Chiefs, in which the school sent nine athletes to state.
“They were really their own motivation,” McCormick track coach Brittany Callaham said. “We were really just there to help with techniques, to give advice on what they needed to do.
“Coach Bowers and I both saw from the beginning of the season they had that demand to just strive for being a back-to-back state champion. They really worked hard for it.”
Callaham finished her first season as McCormick’s track coach, along with fellow coach Randolph Bowers. All nine of the athletes McCormick sent to state placed.
Brown competed in the girls high jump state championship at about 4 p.m., when the day’s stifling humidity and temperature peaked. Brown’s answer when asked what was different from last year’s state title was simple: “The heat.”
Brown cleared the 4-foot, 10-inch mark to win the title. She said her teammates helped stoke the energy she needed to cope with the conditions and win. Brown’s teammate T’laysha Creswell took third.
“When I was out there with the girls getting ready to jump, they were really fun, they were funny and stuff,” Brown said. “It just gave me more energy.”
Callaham described a tense atmosphere among McCormick coaches and teammates watching Brown narrowly defeat Governor’s School senior Amber Hazzard. Brown, on the other hand, remained calm and collected.
“She has the heart, but she just goes in real calm and when we sat on the sidelines, fingers crossed, like, ‘Just make it over, clear this jump,’ she’s just running through, making her steps, clearing her jump and on to the next thing,” Callaham said.
Brown still has two years of high school left, while Davis heads into her senior year. Both girls also play for McCormick’s basketball team, which made it to the Upper State championship in the winter.
Davis has been competing in track since seventh grade but identified college track as a goal last season.
“My 10th-grade year I decided that I really did want to do track in college,” Davis said. “After I won state, I thought ‘Oh, I’m really good at this, so this is something that I really want to continue doing.’”
A winning mark of 34 feet, 5 inches saw Davis take the shot put title at state. It was nearly a foot further than the second-place finisher.
Davis and Brown are primed for a three-peat next year.
“It feels unreal because it’s my senior year,” Davis said. “It’s my last year doing high school track, so I’m going to really try harder this year, work out more and put more into it.”