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Pair of Maderans flees Irma’s path

Former Madera Coyote softball standout Mariah Davis almost made it through her four years in Daytona Beach at Bethune-Cookman University without having to witness a major weather event.

Unfortunately, less than a month into her senior year at BCU, she and her boyfriend, were forced to evacuate Daytona Beach. On Thursday, chased by hurricane Irma, the pair picked up cousin Donovan Bertoncini, a former Madera South baseball standout who attends Webber International University, and headed for Alabama.

“There wasn’t a lot of concern at the beginning because we didn’t know the path of it, yet,” Davis said. “Even Tuesday, it was a normal school day. Nobody was talking about the hurricane. Out of nowhere, they called us to a meeting in the Performing Arts Center and told us to evacuate.”

Davis and her entourage ventured north to Calera, Alabama, home of a family friend just south of Birmingham, Alabama.

“My family knew about it beforehand,” Davis said. “When I told them Tuesday, we had to evacuate, we had to find a place. Some of my teammates stayed in Tampa, which was not smart. My family wanted me to leave Florida and get out of there. I’ve been here before on Thanksgiving break my freshman year. My mom said to either go here or South Carolina. It was going to hit there, so I came to Alabama to be extra safe.”

The home isn’t new to Davis and she and her group are enjoying themselves.

“We kind of lucked out,” Davis said. “We’re in a mansion. We have our own space, it’s like an apartment. In her house, she has a movie theater, gym and sauna.

“We work out, go to the sauna, swim or go fishing, watch a movie and relax,” she said. “We’ve been here and haven’t left the house. It seems like we’re not doing anything, but we are working out. We’re living life here. We don’t want to leave.”

Davis made sure to pack enough clothes for a week, but she thinks the evacuation may last longer.

“I packed clothes and stuff to have,” she said. “I made sure to pack keepsake stuff. The school has been very good with keeping us up to date. They allowed us to evacuate earlier than other schools. It gave us more time to beat traffic. They haven’t given us a timetable. If we don’t have electricity, we can’t go back to school. The storm hasn’t hit the school yet. They may not evaluate anything until Wednesday.

“It might be two full weeks,” she said. “I don’t know about the other one behind it, Jose. They haven’t said Jose, but I don’t think it’s coming our way.”

Last year, Davis and friends left for Tampa to get away from a storm, but she said it was nowhere near the strength of Irma.

“I think it’s a really bad storm system,” Davis said. “I just hope the rain isn’t going to be as high as they say it’s going to because my clothes will be ruined.”

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