It was just before 2 pm, on the cool and clear afternoon of April 25, 1914 when Centralia
Track Coach Floyd Stables saw his gamble
begin to pay off. He had named Junior
transfer student Harry Davis team captain,
and even allowed the CTHS Junior to act as
Assistant Coach of the squad. In just
a few moments the coach would know if his
star athlete was a real leader.
A hush fell over the spectators, athletes and coaches from 15 schools who had assembled at
Harrisburg’s White City Park as Davis,
wearing number 44 on his white with red CTHS
singlet, strode onto the track for the 50-yard dash final. At the crack of the gun, Davis dug furiously
down the dirt straightaway and very nearly
nipped the winner Parrish of Harrisburg, who
tied the Illinois interscholastic record for
the event at 5 2/5 seconds. Centralia
was on the board with its first 3 points of
the afternoon. It was the last time all day Davis would finish second.
Forty minutes later Harry won the
100-yard dash in 10 2/5 seconds. In
just 20 more minutes, he tied Cuthbertson of
Harrisburg with a 25 flat in the 220. As the sun dipped toward the horizon, the CTHS captain blazed down the runway
and launched himself toward the sandpit to
win the long (broad) jump with a 20'10"
His 17 points in 4 events won Davis a
handsome gold plaque as individual champion
of the meet...a distinction previously almost always won by field men. Centralia took second on the day with 21 points.
At Carbondale, on May 27, Davis was
the outstanding individual again, setting 2
new Southern Illinois marks. He took
the 220 in 23 3/5 seconds, the long jump
with a leap of 21'3" and also won the
100-yard dash. Although Centralia was
again second to Harrisburg (22-32), the
school's Intellectual team placed first. The telegraphic report
of the day’s fine work by Centralia’s track and scholastic squads was posted on the front window for curious crowds
of passers-by to marvel at.
On May 16th, at Champaign, Centralia Township High School placed third at the state track and field meet.
All of Centralia's 14 points were scored by
Harry Davis. He won the 100-yard dash
in a time of 10.5 and placed second in the
50-yard dash, 220-yard dash, and the long
In 1915 Davis finished third in the 100-yard dash at the state meet. He also set a school record in the 220 at
22.1. This record stood until 1987.