Texas Coach Eldrick Floreal believes Kevona Davis is ready to contend at Jamaica's National Championships

By June 16, 2023
Kevona Davis Kevona Davis

University of Texas at Austin Coach Eldrick Floreal is confident that sprinter Kevona Davis will be a strong contender at Jamaica's national championships next month. Despite facing criticism and doubts from fans, Coach Floreal believes in Davis's progress and her ability to overcome past challenges.

Davis, who ran wind-aided times of 10.98 and 22.02 at the recently concluded NCAA Division 1 National Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas, is expected to vie for a spot on Jamaica’s team to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August and Coach Floreal believes that after prior failures the former Edwin Allen High School star will be ready to compete this year.

 I think Kevona is going to be ready. The goal this year is to go to the Jamaican championship and compete. She has not competed (previously). She's showed up and participated. She's going to compete,” Floreal said of his athlete who boasts personal bests of 10.95 and 22.23, in the 100m and 200m, respectively.

“She's going to actually run what she's running now in the (NCAA) championships, and its maturity.”

Coach Floreal acknowledged the skepticism surrounding Davis's development but dismissed it considering the clear steps forward she has been taking. He addressed concerns by highlighting the unique approach they have taken to accelerate her progress, acknowledging that it didn't always go as planned.

"I've taken quite a bit of flak from Jamaica, and in true Jamaican fashion, I said, 'Me no care. I don't care.' My job is to help this young woman," Coach Floreal explained, emphasizing his commitment to supporting Davis.

The coach recognized that Davis had struggled with confidence issues and made mistakes in previous competitions. However, he emphasized that these were normal errors and not indicative of a lack of talent. Coach Floreal attributed them to a lack of self-belief and the pressure of competition.

"One of the most difficult things is to identify a step process that goes backward. Most people coach forward. I coach backwards," Coach Floreal explained his coaching philosophy. He shared that he envisions Davis reaching her full potential and then works backward to determine the necessary steps. This method, although unconventional, aims to ensure a solid foundation for sustained growth.

Davis's lack of confidence and occasional mistakes in competitions are areas Coach Floreal has been focused on. He believes that her experiences in the NCAA and Jamaica have impacted her mental state, and his role as a coach is to rebuild her belief in herself.

Reflecting on Davis's progression, Coach Floreal highlighted the ups and downs she has faced throughout her career. He mentioned specific instances where her confidence took a hit, such as false starts and disappointment in previous races. Despite these setbacks, he emphasized that Davis has shown resilience and an ability to bounce back, slowly improving over time.

The coach shared some behind-the-scenes efforts to nurture Davis's mental strength, such as dedicating additional training sessions and reassurance to rebuild her confidence. He stressed the importance of taking the necessary time to help athletes mature, comparing it to shifting gears in a car, where skipping steps can lead to stalling.

“No matter how bad Kevona's had a rough road, she's always come back. She's always comes back every year, done a little bit better, a little bit better, a little bit better,” he said emphasizing that Davis is making the steps necessary to be the best she can be.

“If you have ever driven a car, a stick shift. If you go from the first gear to the third gear, everybody knows what happens. The car starts and cuts off. You have to go to the second gear. You have to match up the second gear and then shift to the third gear. And sometimes these gears take time because they have been unable to comprehend what the coach wants.

“But she has to develop. Everybody wants 10.7 now. You're not getting that right now because there's a lot of things I need to fix before I even get there.  If you're a really qualified coach, you understand that you're going to have to take time and sometimes go backwards to come back forward. It's not like instant oatmeal, some of this stuff takes time.”

Coach Floreal expressed his satisfaction with Davis's progress and is optimistic about her readiness for the upcoming Jamaican national championships.

In conclusion, Coach Floreal acknowledged that talent alone is not enough to succeed in the highly competitive world of athletics. He emphasized the importance of mental fortitude and the ability to handle the pressures of the sport independently. With Davis's continuous growth and unwavering determination, Coach Floreal believes she has what it takes to make her mark at the national championships and beyond.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • Retired American track icon Allyson Felix enjoys Jamaican 'Babymoon', reflects on cherished memories and rivalry Retired American track icon Allyson Felix enjoys Jamaican 'Babymoon', reflects on cherished memories and rivalry

    Retired American track legend Allyson Felix, accompanied by her husband Kenneth, recently enjoyed a blissful vacation on the picturesque island of Jamaica. The couple, expecting their second child later this year, took time off to unwind and relish the beauty of the Caribbean paradise.

    Felix, who bid farewell to her illustrious track career at the end of the 2022 season, has had a storied connection with Jamaica. The island served as the backdrop for some of her fiercest competitions against Jamaican rivals like Veronica Campbell Brown and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce. The retired sprinter reminisced about her first encounter with Jamaica in 2002 when she competed as a junior at the World U20 Championships.

    Sharing her Jamaican experience on Instagram, Felix expressed gratitude for the warm reception she received despite being a competitor. She reminisced about her 22-year journey, highlighting her medal-filled career that included an impressive tally of 22 gold medals at global championships, seven of which were Olympic and 14 World championships gold medals.

    Felix, who shares a daughter named Camryn with Kenneth, posted a heartfelt message on Instagram, saying, "22 years ago, I went to Jamaica for the World Junior Championships and met my now-husband on that team. I also fell in love with the incredible people and the beautiful country. Even though they always cheered against me, I honestly feel so appreciated when I am here. It was only right for us to come back for our babymoon. Jamaica will forever hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for all of the love and hospitality, Jamaica."

    The post garnered responses from fellow athletes, including Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, who welcomed Felix "home." In response, Felix conveyed her delight, stating, "@realshellyannfp definitely! Hahahah always good to be home."

    Allyson Felix's Jamaican babymoon not only provided her with an opportunity to relish the island's beauty but also allowed her to reconnect with the memories of her impressive track career and the warm camaraderie she shares with her Jamaican competitors and her legion of fans on the island.


  • Team Jamaica Bickle, after 30 years, continuing to put athletes’ welfare first Team Jamaica Bickle, after 30 years, continuing to put athletes’ welfare first

    ‘Our Athletes, Our Ambassadors.’ Those are the words that govern the actions of one of the leading organizations in sports, Team Jamaica Bickle.

    For the past three decades, TJB, a not-for-profit corporation based in New York State, has been providing support services for Caribbean athletes, particularly Jamaicans, who compete at the annual Penn Relays Carnival, which is held at the University of Pennsylvania, (UPENN) in Philadelphia, PA.

    Their services also extend to a delegation of approximately six hundred & fifty (650) students and coaches from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent & The Grenadines Guyana and Grenada. 

    “We have always said that whatever we do, it’s for our athlete’s welfare,” TJB founder and CEO Irwine G. Clare Snr. told SportsMax.tv.

    “When all is said and done, all the fandangles, all the bells and whistles, all the verbal commentary and the niceties, at the end of the day, it’s about the welfare of the athletes because in essence, in our business, it takes cash to care. It means that, at the end of the day, we have to ensure that we have the resources and all the necessities in place to satisfy our athletes’ requirements. That’s the business we’re in,” he added.

    Over the years TJB has welcomed and extended its services to delegations of students and coaches from the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), Bahamas, Barbados and most recently Belize.

    Team Jamaica Bickle provides the following: Meals and other refreshments, physical therapy, chiropractic, mentorship and medical services, ground transportation, daily hotel to stadium shuttle, airport transfers for arrival & departure, subsidized hotel rate and subsidized airfare.

    Additionally, the Team Jamaica Bickle “Defibrillator to Schools Program,” was initiated in 2014 after the loss of St. Jago High School athlete, Cavahn McKenzie at a cross-country meet in Tobago.

    This caused the organization to consider the lack of emergency resources in Jamaican schools.  That year, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) unit was donated to St. Jago High School at the Penn Relays.

    A Medical Pavilion in his honor was erected in the TJB Village where athletes could get medical and dental information and be trained in CPR. It continues to be a feature today.

    In 2016 another athlete, Dominic James of St. Georges’ College, tragically lost his life during a Manning Cup game. This unfortunate event spurred TJB to ramp up the CPR training & AED donations to better prepare schools for emergencies.

    The program has received the support of the Ministry of Education, Government Agencies, The Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA), Corporate Jamaica and the Diaspora.

    Since 2014 the organization has donated over 130 AED units to schools, trained over 250 staff and influenced the donation of several others to various institutions. The goal is to outfit each high school across the Island with a unit.

    “We have seen where our efforts have inspired other Diaspora organizations contribute AEDs to several schools and medical institutions,” said Clare.

    “We are encouraged and remain committed to the goal of outfitting all High Schools,” he added.

    In 1999, Team Jamaica Bickle became the first Jamaican organization to be a participating sponsor at the Penn Relays.

    As a result, the Jamaican flag became the first foreign flag to be flown at the Penn Relays, a distinction unmatched. Over the years, TJB has received numerous proclamations and awards from several local and national entities.

    As it relates to growth of the organization, Clare said it comes down to continuing to be able to meet the needs of athletes as they evolve.

    “Our athletes over the years have brought a sense of tenacity, professionalism and discipline to their craft, making them better. We too have to adopt that principle,” he said

    “When we speak of growth, it is growth from the standpoint of efficiencies and finding ways to leverage what we have so that we can remain relevant to the causes of the athletes because the athletes are not stagnant. If you want to win you have to step up your game, it’s the same thing with us,” he added.

  • JC calls on Grange for assistance to break deadlock with ISSA over foreign athletes JC calls on Grange for assistance to break deadlock with ISSA over foreign athletes

    Jamaica College have sought the intervention of Sports Minister Olivia Grange to resolve an impasse it has with the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) over the eligibility of two international student athletes to represent the school at the 2024 Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships.

    According to a letter to Grange signed by Chairman of the Jamaica College Board of Management, Lance Hylton, ISSA has reportedly refused to permit the two athletes - Evans Tetteh and Dominic Amponsah, who are both from Ghana -because of what it says is an “influx” of foreign athletes into Jamaican high schools.

    “We believe that the action taken by ISSA is unfair and inconsistent with ISSA’s own rules and could have negative repercussions on Jamaican athletes seeking similar scholarships to overseas schools,” Hylton's letter stated.

    “We are kindly seeking your intervention and mediation into this matter. We look forward to your positive response," he added.

    Jamaica College, who have won the boys’ title 22 times, placed second at last year’s Championships, behind Kingston College, the winningest school with 34 titles.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.