PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia area is no stranger to female Olympians: Carli Lloyd, Dawn Staley, and Tara Lipinski, to name a few.
Now, Girard College may be on the verge of producing the next big name in track and field – with an eye on the Olympics.
There’s an age-old adage in sports – you can’t teach speed. You either have it or you don’t.
Girard College standout Thelma Davies has it.
Davies is one of the fastest young women in the country and former coach Rick Leak discovered her talent almost by mistake.
“I wasn’t even supposed to run track, I was supposed to play basketball. I came out for the track team because my friends said it would be fun. So one day he was just timing people racing,” Davies explained. “I went and I raced. He looked at his timer, he looked at me, shook his head and started laughing.”
Current Coach Diamond Woolford knew right away
“When I saw her run as a seventh or eighth grader, hearing the times she was putting up, I was like, “Oh wow, we might have something here,” Woolford said.
Davies, a sophomore, hasn’t lost during her current indoor track season.
She holds the Pennsylvania State Indoor Record for the 60-meter dash at 7.37 seconds.
She’s broken Olympian Lauren Williams 100-meter state record by two-tenths of a second and tied her in the 200 meters.
She is focused on the 2020 Olympics in Toyko.
“The times that she’s been putting up so far, she’s on pace by the time 2020 comes along, as long as she continues to get faster, she could possibly reach that level,” Woolford said.
Davies’ grades are good and she has a lot of friends. Her coach says she’s got a good head on her shoulders, and you can tell by the other goal she has set for herself.
“I stay positive because being positive will get you somewhere. Being cocky and knowing you are better than other people will make you a grumpy person and sooner or later other people won’t like you,” Davies said. “I just want to be that nice person that everyone knows and likes.”