State Athlete of the Year: Tara Davis

Agoura High’s Tara Davis celebrates winning long jump at national indoor championships. She also won several outdoor national titles. Photo:

After winning two gold medals and a silver medal in this week’s Pan Am Junior Games, Agoura’s multi-event track and field standout adds Girls State Athlete of the Year honor. She now joins all-time list that includes some of track and field’s other all-time greats who are from the Golden State.

For the rundown on the other 2016-17 State Girls Athletes of the Year, CLICK HERE.


(Thanks to Erik Boal, editor of, for consulting with us about this year’s State Athlete of the Year honors)

Whenever an athlete gets longtime media members who’ve covered more than 20 CIF state track championships scrambling to look up comparisons for performances they’ve just turned in, then you know you’ve got one of the all-time greats.

Tara Davis of Agoura High (Agoura Hills) did that at last June’s CIF state finals held at Clovis Buchanan’s Veterans Stadium. And for now being firmly established in the same category as others such as Marion Jones, Alyson Felix and Wendy Brown for being among the most decorated athletes ever at the CIF state meet, the University of Georgia-bound Davis also now joins those others as the Cal-Hi Sports Girls State Athlete of the Year.

Davis will compete next in the tough competition of the SEC at the University of Georgia. Photo:

The last from Ventura County to be Girls State Athlete of the Year was Jones, who was selected for the honor three straight years from 1991 to 1993. She went to Rio Mesa (Oxnard) as a sophomore, then went to Thousand Oaks as a junior and senior. Felix, who has gone on to become one of the biggest stars in USA track history, was State Athlete of the Year for 2002-03 from L.A. Baptist of North Hills.

Brown may not be as well-known to track fans as those other two, but Davis’ efforts at this year’s CIF state meet had many recalling what Brown did in 1984 for Woodside. In that earlier meet, Brown won the team title by herself by scoring 38 points on first-place finishes in the long jump, triple jump and 100 hurdles plus a second-place finish in the 100-meter dash. Brown went on to set unofficial world records in the triple jump at USC (unofficial only because the event was declared official at the time) and competed in the heptathlon at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

In this year’s state meet, Davis came up one point short of winning the team title for Agoura as she scored 30 points based on winning in the 100 hurdles, long jump and triple jump. Long Beach Poly, which had three girls scoring points, won the crown with 31.

But the team scoring at the state meet is not what people will remember the most about Davis. It’s what she’s done in her three primary events on the track throughout her high school career.

“Davis put together a triple this year never before accomplished by any prep athlete in U.S. history,” said Erik Boal, editor of the track website and who’s written State Athlete of the Year articles for Cal-Hi Sports in the past.

Her wind-aided 12.83 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles is the fastest time by any high schooler under all conditions. Her wind-legal 12.95 also is equal to the No. 5 performance ever by a prep athlete. Heading into the Junior Pan Am Games, those marks also were wind-aided No. 5 and wind-legal No. 45 in the world this year.

In the long jump, Davis’ wind-aided 22-3.75 is the No. 2 performance under all conditions in high school history. Her wind-legal 22-1.25 also is the No. 4 wind-legal leap of all-time.

Then in the triple jump, Davis’ wind-legal 43-4 is the No. 11 effort in prep history. That jump also like the other two was also world-ranked before this week’s Junior Pan Am Games.

For the all-time event rankings in state history, Boal reports that Davis ranks No. 1 in the 100 hurdles, No. 1 in the long jump and No. 6 in the triple jump.

Previously to the years when joined Student Sports Inc. and when both Cal-Hi Sports and DyeStat were part of Student Sports and ESPN from 2006 to 2012, Cal-Hi Sports compiled state track and field records along with all of the other sports. Since then, however, track and field specific web sites like DyeStat and Rich Gonzalez’s PrepTrackCal have done a great job chronicling the best athletes and teams in the sport.

In addition, Davis set the national indoor high school record in the long jump at 21-11, along with winning New Balance Indoor national titles in the 60-meter hurdles and long jump. At the USATF Outdoor Championships in June, she placed fifth in the long jump behind Tianna Bartoletta and Brittney Reese — the past two Olympic gold medalists — along with Sha’Keela Saunders and Quanesha Burks, the top two collegiate performers who rank fourth and sixth in the world this year.

Earlier in June, Davis also went to the USATF Junior Outdoor championships and captured titles in the long jump and 100 hurdles.

Just on Friday of this week, the individual outdoor season for Davis concluded at the Pan American Junior Games in Peru. She won the gold medal in the long jump with a wind-aided 21-4.25, the best jump in meet history, but she won’t get credit for the meet record because it was wind-aided. In the 100 hurdles, Davis settled for the silver medal (her only loss this year in the 100 hurdles), getting nipped by fellow American and national high school record holder Tia Jones, a sophomore at Georgia Walton Comprehensive in Georgia. Davis clocked 13.05 seconds while Jones captured gold in 13.01. Earlier in the summer, however, Davis had edged Jones 13.01 to 13.02 at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships in Sacramento. Then on Saturday at the meet, Davis anchored the USA team to a gold medal in the 4×100 relay. The Americans won the race in 44.07 seconds.

Losing one race to another prep phenom may cost Tara Davis a perfect summer in one sense, but it certainly didn’t come close to preventing her from being State Athlete of the Year.

Valley Christian San Jose’s Elena Bruckner was the State Athlete of the Year for 2015-16. Photo: Norbert von der Groeben/SportStars.


(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)

2016-17 – Tara Davis, Agoura Hills Agoura (track)
2015-16 – Elena Bruckner, San Jose Valley Christian (track, volleyball)
2014-15 – Abbey Weitzeil, Saugus (swimming)
2013-14 – Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo Aliso Niguel (gymnastics)
2012-13 – Chelsea Chenault, Concord Carondelet (swimming)
2011-12 – Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo Aliso Niguel (gymnastics)
2010-11 – Maggie Steffens, Danville Monte Vista (water polo)
2009-10 – Ashton Purvis, Oakland St. Elizabeth (track)
2008-09 – Jordan Hasay, San Luis Obispo Mission Prep (track)
2007-08 – Jordan Hasay, San Luis Obispo Mission Prep (track) Jr.
2006-07 – Alix Klineman, Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (volleyball)
2005-06 – Jayne Appel, Concord Carondelet (water polo, basketball)
2004-05 – Jessica Hardy, Long Beach Wilson (swimming)
2003-04 – Candice Wiggins, La Jolla Country Day (volleyball, basketball)
2002-03 – Alyson Felix, North Hills L.A. Baptist (track)
2001-02 – Julia Pitts, Torrance North (volleyball, basketball, track)
2000-01 – Lashinda Demus, Long Beach Wilson (track)
1999-00 – Monique Henderson, San Diego Morse (track) Jr.
1998-99 – Rometra Craig, San Jose Mitty (basketball, tae kwon do, track) Jr.
1997-98 – Amanda Freed, Garden Grove Pacifica (volleyball, soccer, baseball)
1996-97 – Tayyiba Haneef, Laguna Hills (volleyball, basketball, track)
1995-96 – Kerri Walsh, San Jose Mitty (volleyball, basketball)
1994-95 – Marcy Crouch, Huntington Beach Marina (soccer, softball)
1993-94 – Suzy Powell, Modesto Downey (basketball, track)
1992-93 – Marion Jones, Thousand Oaks (basketball, track)
1991-92 – Marion Jones, Thousand Oaks (basketball, track) Jr.
1990-91 – Marion Jones, Oxnard Rio Mesa (basketball, track) Soph.
1989-90 – Lisa Leslie, Inglewood Morningside (basketball, track)
1988-89 – Janet Evans, Placentia El Dorado (swimming)
1987-88 – Janet Evans, Placentia El Dorado (swimming) Jr.
1986-87 – Michele Granger, Placentia Valencia (softball)
1985-86 – Terri Mann, San Diego Point Loma (basketball, track)
1984-85 – Elaina Oden, Irvine (volleyball, track)
1983-84 – Wendy Brown, Woodside (basketball, track)
1982-83 – Wendy Wyland, Mission Viejo (diving)
1981-82 – Denean Howard, Granada Hills Kennedy (track)
1980-81 – Cheryl Miller, Riverside Polytechnic (basketball)
1979-80 – Sherri Howard, Granada Hills Kennedy (track)
1978-79 – Cynthia Woodhead, Riverside Polytechnic (swimming)
1977-78 – Tracy Austin, Rolling Hills (tennis)
1976-77 – Linda Fratianne, Van Nuys Valley Professional (figure skating)
1975-76 – Jill Sterkel, Hacienda Heights Wilson (swimming)
1974-75 – Barbara Reinalda, Cerritos Valley Christian (basketball, softball)
1973-74 – Mary Decker, Orange (track)
1972-73 – Keena Rothhammer, Santa Clara (swimming)
1971-72 – Mable Fergerson, Pomona Ganesha (track)
1970-71 – Laura Baugh, Long Beach Wilson (golf)
1969-70 – Cathy Rigby, Los Alamitos (gymnastics)
1968-69 – Debbie Meyer, Sacramento Rio Americano (swimming)
1967-68 – Debbie Meyer, Sacramento Rio Americano (swimming)
1966-67 – Debbie Meyer, Sacramento Rio Americano (swimming)
1965-66 – Charlotte Cooke, Compton (track)
1964-65 – Peggy Fleming, Pasadena (figure skating)
1963-64 – Sharon Stouder, Glendora (swimming)
1962-63 – Donna de Varona, Santa Clara (swimming)
1961-62 – Carolyn House, Los Angeles Marshall (swimming)
1960-61 – Billie Jean King, Long Beach Poly (tennis)*
1959-60 – Chris von Saltza, Los Gatos (swimming)
1958-59 – Karen Hantze, San Diego Mission Bay (tennis)
1957-58 – Sylvia Ruuska, Berkeley (swimming)
1956-57 – Barbara Ann Roles, Arcadia (figure skating)
1955-56 – Mimi Arnold, Redwood City Sequoia (tennis)
1954-55 – Mimi Arnold, Redwood City Sequoia (tennis)
1953-54 – Carol Tait, Atherton Menlo-Atherton (swimming)
1952-53 – Barbara Stark, Lafayette Acalanes (swimming)
1951-52 – Paula Jean Myers, Covina (diving)
1950-51 – Maureen Connolly, San Diego Cathedral (tennis)
1949-50 – Maureen Connolly, San Diego Cathedral (tennis)
1948-49 – Marlene Bauer, L.A. unknown (golf)
1947-48 – Zoe Ann Olsen, Oakland (diving)
1946-47 – Zoe Ann Olsen, Oakland (diving)
1945-46 – Zoe Ann Olsen, Oakland (diving)
1944-45 – Nancy Chaffee, Ventura (tennis)
1943-44 – Jean Doyle, San Diego Point Loma (tennis)
1942-43 – Ann Curtis, S.F. Washington (swimming)
1941-42 – Ann Curtis, S.F. Washington (swimming)
1940-41 – Ann Curtis, S.F. Washington (swimming)
1939-40 – Margorie Gestring, Los Angeles (diving)
1938-39 – Esther Williams, L.A. Washington (swimming)
1937-38 – Margorie Gestring, Los Angeles (diving)
1936-37 – Margorie Gestring, Los Angeles (diving)
1935-36 – Peggy Graham, Beverly Hills (golf)
1934-35 – Margaret Osborne, S.F. Commerce (tennis)
1933-34 – Florence Chadwick, San Diego Hoover (rough water swimming)
1932-33 – Dorothy Poynton, L.A. Fairfax (diving)
1931-32 – Evelyn Furtsch, Tustin (track)
1930-31 – Alice Marble, S.F. Polytechnic (tennis)
1929-30 – Georgia Coleman, L.A. Polytechnic (diving)
1928-29 – Gloria Russell, Berkeley (track)
1927-28 – Georgia Coleman, L.A. Polytechnic (diving)
1926-27 – Georgia Coleman, L.A. Polytechnic (diving)
1925-26 – Helen Jacobs, Berkeley Miss Anna Head’s School (tennis)
1924-25 – Eleanor Garatti, San Rafael (swimming)
1923-24 – Helen Jacobs, Berkeley (tennis)
1922-23 – Helen Wills, Berkeley Miss Anna Head’s School (tennis)
1921-22 – Helen Wills, Berkeley unknown (tennis)
1920-21 – Helen Wills, Berkeley unknown (tennis)
1919-20 – Helen Wills, Berkeley unknown (tennis)
*Known as Billie Jean Moffitt while in high school.

Note: All selections prior to 1978-79 done retroactively through research by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle:

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