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Incoming Walnut Hills Track Star Draws Inspiration from Distinguished Alumnus

Rising Walnut Hills High School 7th grader Althea Davis competed at last month’s 2023 USA Track & Field (USATF) National Junior Olympic Championships in Eugene, Oregon, but she’s not the first in program history with an Olympic journey.

Cincinnati Public Schools board member and Walnut Hills Alumnus Mary Wineberg, brought home a gold medal in the 4x400-meter relay at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Wineberg surprised Davis out on the track to talk about their shared experiences and sneak a quick run in. Wineberg traded her shoes for spikes, kept on her jeans and sprinted 50 meters alongside Davis.

“I was out of breath, my heart is still beating pretty fast,” Wineberg said. “It was legit, it was a great race.”

The alumnus is impressed by what the future holds for Walnut Hills’ Track & Field program.

Althea Davis“I’m excited for the things to come,” Wineberg said. “It’s an amazing thing to hear about all the great things that she’s doing.”

Davis participated in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, her two favorite events, at nationals in Oregon. The young runner also competed in the individual 400-meter race at USATF’s Ohio Championships in June.

As the competition surrounding her on the track continues to ramp up, Davis maintains a cool and collected approach to growing as a runner.

“I race a lot of good people, so it’s easier for them to push me,” Davis said. “I like to look at the runners’ times and try to run faster than that so I can be better.”

Wineberg encouraged Davis’ confidence, something she struggled with at times around the same age, telling Davis to keep her focus in her lane, don’t worry about the runner next to her and keep her eye on the finish line.

Davis is open to the wisdom Wineberg is handing down, staying focused on reaching the next level.

“It’s a lot of inspiration and something that I want to try and would love to do,” Davis said. “Whenever I see how fast [professional runners] are, it just amazes me. It’s just very cool to me.”

It’s easy to acknowledge Davis’ speed, but she’s also a serious competitor and natural-born leader with high aspirations. 

“I am always stating that I’m a proud product of Cincinnati Public Schools,” Wineberg said. “I want them to know I excelled, and they can excel, too.”