The athletes from the United States are rolling up the medals at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. However, is it me, or is American speed skater Shani Davis not getting all the attention he deserves for his contribution to the USA gold rush?
While I have enjoyed the performances of skier Lindsey Vonn, figure skater Evan Lysacek, speed skater Apollo Ohno and the incredible snowboarder Shaun White doing the flips, I believe Davis is right there with him with all that he has accomplished. Am I missing something here?
Davis repeated his gold medal-winning performance in the 1,000-meter run last week, becoming the first man ever in Olympic history to accomplish that feat in that event. Davis also added a silver medal in the 1,500, giving him a total of four medals in two Olympic Games. Davis made history in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy when he became the first black athlete to win a gold medal in an individual event when he won the 1,000. At 27, Davis continued to solidify his place among the world’s top performers on the long track with his performance in Vancouver. It’s a good way to close Black History Month to see another talented young man make history in front of the world.
Saint Louis University sophomore track and field standout Brittany Cloudy won her second consecutive Atlantic 10 Conference title in the triple jump at last week’s A-10 Indoor Track and Field Championships in Rhode Island. The former Rockwood Marquette standout won her specialty event with an effort of 40 feet 1 ¼ inch, which broke her own school record. Cloudy became SLU’s first two-time A-10 Conference champion in track and field.
Congratulations to Whitfield basketball standout Julian Johnson on becoming the school’s all-time career leading scorer last week. Johnson broke the record on Tuesday, Feb. 15 when he scored nine points against Waterloo Gibault, giving him 1,736 points. The old record of 1,731 points was held by former Warriors’ star Dan Oppland. Johnson currently has 1,745 points. His Warriors are the No. 1 seed in the Class 3, District Tournament at Whitfield, which begins next week. Johnson led the Warriors to a runner-up finish in the Class 3 state tournament last season.
Well done, Ju.
Area small schools will begin district basketball play around the area next week. Defending Class 2 girls’ state champion Cardinal Ritter is the No. 1 seed at the Brentwood District. The Lions are followed by No. 2 seed Metro, the champions of the Public High League. On the boys side, Cardinal Ritter is the No. 1 seed, with an improving young Maplewood team at No. 2 and Brentwood at No. 3. The championship games will be held on Friday, March 5 with the girls game at 6 p.m., followed by the boys at 8 p.m.
Whitfield is the top seed at the District 5 boys tournament at Whitfield. The Warriors are followed by Lutheran St. Charles, Principia and Trinity. In the girls’ field, Lutheran North is the top seed, followed by breakthrough team North County Tech and host Whitfield. The championship games will be on Friday, Dec. 5 with the girls at 5:30 p.m. and the boys at 7 p.m.
Former Vashon High basketball standout James Washington is enjoying an excellent senior at Middle Tennessee State, where he is the starting point guard. A 6’0” junior guard, “Baby James,” is averaging 12.1 points a game while leading the team with 110 assists and 38 steals. He is also shooting 39 percent from 3-point range and 79 percent from the free throw line while averaging 34 minutes a game. The Blue Raiders are currently tied for first place in the Sun Belt Conference.
I will be having a book signing for my current book, “You Might Need a Jacket: Hilarious Stories of Wacky Sports Parents,” this Saturday at the Borders Bookstore in Ballwin (15355A Manchester Road) from 1-3 p.m. I look forward to seeing you there.
(You can follow Earl Austin Jr. with his daily reports on his new basketball website, “earlaustinjr.com.” His book, “You Might Need a Jacket: Hilarious Stories of Wacky Sports Parents,” is available at various places around the St. Louis area and at Amazonc.com.)