Midtown: Sports

Former Southeast Raleigh hurdler Wayne Davis nears Olympic berth

Former Southeast Raleigh High track star Wayne Davis ran the 110-meter high hurdles 1.7 seconds faster than he ever had before on May 13.

Davis ran a 13.37 to establish himself as one of the top hurdlers in the world.

His time is the 15th fastest this year.

“I celebrated, checked the wind speed to make sure the time was legal, and decided I have to go faster,” Davis said from College Station, Texas, where he is a sophomore at Texas A&M.

Davis was born in the United States but also has citizenship in Trinidad, and his time set the Trinidadian national record.

He has set himself up for a probable berth in the London Olympics, although he will need to go through qualifying in his parents’ native Trinidad.

Such accomplishments were expected for Davis when he graduated from Southeast.

He set national junior records and won international titles. He set a U.S. and world junior record with a 13.08 in the Pan Am Juniors in 2009 at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

But Davis’ hurdles got higher, literally, when he arrived at Texas A&M.

High school hurdles are 39 inches high. College hurdles are 42 inches high.

“It doesn’t sound like much, but it has been a real adjustment for me,” he said.

Davis is 5 feet 9 inches tall. Many of the hurdlers he competes against are at least 6-foot, and many are in the 6-foot-3-inch range.

“I’m short for a hurdler, and it has taken some time to get my technique back,” he said.

At the Big 12 Conference championships in Manhattan, Kan., everything came into focus for him. He said he was honed in on his technique, got a good start and sailed over the first hurdle.

“I knew I was fast,” he said. “After I got over the first one I was thinking that I just needed to do that exact same thing nine more times.”

He didn’t know how fast he had run, but he thought it was faster than he’d run before.

When he saw the time, he was happy and determined.

“I know I can go faster,” he said. “I know I have to go faster.”