Karis Davis: A Record-breaker Who Doesn’t Quit

A look into Davis’ past that reflects on her record-breaking event

Photo by IUPUI Athletics
Photo by IUPUI Athletics

There has always been a concern in the media industry that there is an underrepresentation of stories about extraordinary women in sports. Karis Davis, a track athlete for the school, qualifies as one of them.

Davis, a freshman, recently helped break the school record for the fastest 4x100-meter relay in 47.94 seconds. Others that assisted her in breaking the record include Modupe Awosanya, Lillian Sebastian and Madelynn Denny.

Davis was engaging from the start of the interview. While most athletes that are interviewed may display signs of remorse for a 9 a.m. questionnaire, she was brimming with enjoyment. However, one could argue that there is an extra skip in your step when you break a school record at the age of 19.

“It’s more of a team effort,” Davis said. “I only contributed to it. I wasn’t the only reason that we got the school record.”

Her selflessness for her teammates plays a major role in the track program. As a team, they were able to clear up a couple of worries before breaking the record.

“Everybody was a little worried about our handoffs because we hadn’t practiced it in like two months,” Davis said. “We’re going to make this work. We’re going to be okay. And we made it work.”

Davis grew up in Leo, Indiana, where she began running track in sixth grade. She continued to perform at a high level up until a rare and unfortunate diagnosis in high school.

“It started out as tendonitis on the side of my foot,” Davis said. “It started to get better until it turned into sesamoiditis. During this time period, I also had plantar fasciitis, although I didn't even know I had it until a physical therapist caught it after I'd already found out about the other two aspects of my injury.”

The timeline of her injuries forced her into the hardest decision a high school athlete is forced to make: Keep going or give up? In Davis’ case, she decided to push through the injury. She utilized the resources at her disposal by reaching out to another coach at her school.

“One of my coaches in high school, the boys track coach, really got me to stick with track with all the injuries that I had,” Davis said. “It got really hard for me with what was going on at the time. He said I needed to push through, and he said that it was going to get better.”

In her senior year, Davis triumphed against her injuries when she signed with the IUPUI Jaguars to continue her track career.

“He definitely got me into the program,” Davis said. “There was something about him that drew me into the program. He is so focused on wanting the athletes to get better and that’s what I wanted—to get better. That’s why this school is a good fit for me.”

Davis, now a video game development major, hopes to play a major role in the track program and keep her injuries in the past.

“I never like to hear that I can't compete and that I need to take a break,” Davis said. “Especially since I know that my team needs me.”

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