US news
2003 indoor

5th Nike Indoor Championships

March 15-16, 2003 at Prince George's Sportsplex, Landover MD

Press Release
Candice Davis -
Michigan prep turns hurdles into a sprint

by Pete Cava

LANDOVER, Md., February 28, 2003 --- In many ways, Candice Davis is a
typical high school senior.

The 17-year-old Davis is one of the top entries in the 60-meter hurdles
event at the March 15-16 Nike Indoor Championships in Landover, but at heart
she's not that different from her classmates at Pioneer High School in Ann
Arbor, Mich.

Candice's favorite book is The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan's portrayal of
mother-daughter relationships.

She likes "Coming to America," the film comedy where Eddie Murphy
plays an incognito African prince in search of a bride in New York City.
ESPN's "Sports Center" is one of her favorite TV shows.

What sets Davis apart is the path she took en route to becoming one of
the nation's blue-chip track and field prospects.

Davis had her pick of colleges. She looked over Purdue, Indiana and
South Carolina before deciding on Southern California. Trojans coach Ron
Allice calls her the "final cornerstone to a perfect recruiting class." When
Davis signed with USC last fall, Allice said she was "the No. 1 hurdler in
the nation." He describes her as a future collegiate competition medalist
and envisions her as Olympian.

"It's my strength," Davis replies when asked what makes her excel.
"I spend a lot of time in the weight room. Compared to other hurdlers, I
don't have the best technique. But I'm a lot stronger, that's what sets me

Bryan Westfield of Ann Arbor Pioneer, one of Michigan's top prep
coaches, says Davis "pays attention to details. She's worked through some
academic difficulties and has learned to be very focused in the classroom.
That same focus had helped her in athletics."

Westfield says Davis strove to overcome a learning disability and worked
equally hard at molding herself into a first-class performer. "She didn't
start out as a great athlete," says Westfield, whose teams have won Michigan
state titles the past two years. "She spent time around people who were
great athletes. She patterned herself after them and got bigger and stronger
to become the athlete she is today."

At last year's Nike Indoor Championships, Davis was runner-up in the
60-meter hurdles. In June she was third in the 100-meter hurdles at the USA
Junior (under-20) Championships in Stanford, Calif., just missing a berth on
the American squad for the World Junior Championships. Her outdoor best of
13.69 made her the No. 4 U.S. prep and the nation's top underclassman.

"She's so confident, so aggressive, it's as if the barriers don't
exist," says David Mitchell, a track announcer from Michigan who has seen
Davis compete at state and national levels. "It's like she turns the hurdles
into a sprint."

Between the white lines, Mitchell describes Davis as "a very serious
competitor." By Mitchell's count, Davis has posted nine of the state's top
11 undercover hurdles performances.

Between events, however, it's another story. When Davis isn't
competing, she's usually smiling, laughing and working with younger
teammates. "She's always in the middle of it all, helping the kids in a very
positive way," says Mitchell

But during meets, it's rare that Davis isn't in action. "She can
score points in the high jump, long jump, and relays as well as both
hurdles," says Mitchell. "She's really shown an attitude that she's willing
to do whatever it takes to help her team win."

Davis acknowledges Coach Westfield as a big part of her success. "I
love Mr. Westfield," she told internet reporter Duane Raffin. "He's
Westfield describes Davis as "a spiritual person. She realizes she has some
God-given talent. She gets a lot of her support from her mom."

Candice pays homage to Robin Davis, her mother, and to her grandmother
as well. "They're very supportive," she says. "My Mom and Grandma do
whatever they can for me."

Davis says her family is a very important part of her life "I love
spending time with family," she says. "I consider my close friends part of
my family, too."

One of her favorite activities with friends is talking about sports,
something she'd like to do for a living some day. "ESPN came to our town,
and they had a van and you could go in and see the teleprompter," she says.
"I like to talk a lot and I like sports, so I could easily see myself being a

Davis, who'll major in communications at USC, says her plans include "two
or three Olympics, hopefully a gold medal or two. Years from now, I hope to
have a life outside of track, a successful career, and no regrets."


Nike Indoor Championships


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