NASHVILLE, Tenn. – At a school steeped in athletic tradition like Tennessee State University, it isn’t easy for a current TSU student-athlete to be the first to accomplish an historical feat. I’mani Davis did just that in the spring semester becoming the first TSU athlete to win Ohio Valley Conference championships in two different sports in the same year, basketball and outdoor track and field.
“It felt good because I made history, and that’s something that’s always going to be there,” Davis said, “I just feel really blessed that it happened to me.”
As a sophomore in the 2014-15 season, Davis helped guide the Lady Tigers to the 2015 OVC Tournament Championship and a berth in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. When Davis then captured gold in the high jump at the 2015 Outdoor Championships to help the Tigerbelles take first place she became first student-athlete to win two OVC titles in the same year for Tennessee State, which joined the conference prior to the 1987-88 academic year.
A starter in 29 of the team’s 31 games on the basketball court, the 6-foot forward finished as the squad’s second leading scorer with 9.8 points per game. Just two weeks after the team’s NCAA Tournament game at Kentucky on March 20, Davis began workouts with the track and field team.
For Davis, balancing her two athletic commitments is not an easy task.
“They are both pretty exhausting at times," Davis said. "For track, it is hot by the time I get out there in April, and I’m still doing basketball workouts in the spring. Doing workouts for two sports in the same day sometimes is tough.”
As a high school athlete at Union in Oklahoma, Davis was a two-time All-State selection on the basketball court and also won the high jump at the 2012 6A State Championship. She considered competing for the TSU track and field team as a freshman but ultimately decided against it. It wasn’t until basketball season during her sophomore season that she decided to jump for the Tigerbelles in the spring.
At the OVC Outdoor Championships, Davis cleared the high jump bar set at 1.73m to take first as part of TSU team’s championship. Davis said her basketball teammates were encouraging and happy about her success.
“They were super excited for me,” Davis added. “A couple of them said ‘You really inspire me.’ It felt great. They’re very supportive, so it was a good response.”
Now a junior, the two-time OVC champion nicknamed “Two Time” by her Tigerbelle teammates, has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon.
“I just want to keep winning,” Davis said. “I have two more years so that’s possibly four more rings, and I just want to get as many rings as possible.”