“We took another lap around the house looking for her,” Ernest Majors said, remembering the harrowing race to safety 12 years ago. “Me and the dog [which turned out to be friendly] both kind of stopped at the same time and looked around like ‘What happened?’ ”
For years, moments like this were all Ernest Majors had to gauge his daughter’s uncommon speed. Besides two seasons of youth cheerleading, Felecia Majors had never participated in organized sports before joining the South County track and field team in ninth grade.
These days, the hundreds of medals that sit around the house, most in an unkempt pile in the living room, provide the tangible proof of Majors’ athletic gifts. Over the past four years, the Tennessee-bound senior has blossomed into the area’s most versatile performer, excelling in sprints, jumps and pole vault, in a decorated career that should be remembered among the greatest in local history.
Majors leads the list of talented locals into the prestigious 119th Penn Relays, a three-day international meet that begins Thursday in Philadelphia.
Limited by rule to a single field event, she has entered long jump as the top seed (20 feet) and will also run on South County’s 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams. Last year, she finished second at the meet in pole vault.
“My mom [Blanche] likes to call me a medal freak,” Majors said, explaining her motivation to maintain such an ambitious range of events. “I love medals, so I’ll do anything to get a medal, pretty much. . . . I want to win everything. I really want the gold watch,” for winning at Penn Relays.
Growing up, Majors, a two-time All-Met Winter Track Athlete of the Year, filled that appetite for competition with races to the bus stop and games with her three siblings. Ernest Majors, a retired Marine, kept his children active and doled out calisthenics in place of punishment when they made trouble.
But those closest to Felecia Majors describe a physical and emotional transformation since making her debut on the track. As a freshman, Majors flashed speed right away, but it took time for her to learn racing strategy and early on, she had little usefulness in the field events, too raw to master the technique necessary to compete consistently.
By her sophomore season, Majors began to figure out the steps on her pole vault approach, which she found helped at the long jump pit. She soon added triple jump to her repertoire and then high jump, clearing a district qualifying height in that event without first trying it in practice.
“When she started running track, her personality started coming out and her confidence level shot up,” her father said.