Athlete of the Week: Dan Davis

| Sports Editor

Sophomore Dan Davis started his indoor track season with a provisional qualifying mark in the 55-meter dash. Later in the season, he added a school-record and NCAA provisional-qualifying time in the 55-meter hurdles to his list of accomplishments. Davis has led the men’s track and field team in points in each of its meets this season. These achievements earned him Student Life’s Athlete of the Week award.

Student Life: How did it feel to qualify for nationals so early in the season?

Dan Davis: It was really great in the sense that I was happy to get it out of the way, so I could move forward. Because meeting provisional time doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to nationals, it means that you’re in the pool of people who are considered to go to nationals…It’s nice, because it took me until the end of the year last year, and so it’s like I’m starting off where I finished last year, and most of the time it takes a while to shake off the rust.

SL: What are your typical races, and why do you like those events?

DD: Any given meet I’ll probably run the hurdles and either the 55 dash or the 200 dash, and always the 4×400 [relay]. Hurdles are my favorite event, just because I’ve been doing them forever and they’re my best event. 200 and 55 I enjoy, they’re mostly just speed work for me to develop to help my hurdling, and 4×4 is a lot of fun…It’s always the last race on the track and so you get everybody out there. Everybody’s done with their events, they’re all standing on the track, cheering all four legs around, guys and girls. I think it’s the most fun event in a team sense.

SL: How long have you been running? How did you get involved with track?

DD: My dad is a track coach, so I guess I’ve been running since I was 9 or 10 years old…I definitely really got into it because my dad was a coach and I stuck with it because my dad was a coach. Throughout junior high and freshman year of high school, I was little. I hadn’t hit my growth spurt yet, but then sophomore year I gained like 6 inches, which was perfect for the hurdles. But the fact that I was so small and wasn’t the fastest guy on the team really helped in preparation, because I guess I focused on technique more because that was all I really had.

SL: Do you have any pre-meet rituals? How do you get pumped up to race?

DD: I guess everybody sort of has their own thing. Once I’m at the meet, getting pumped up for the race, I slap myself. Everybody looks at me really funny, every meet, regardless of where I am or who I’m running against. I slap myself, wake myself up. It releases adrenaline. But then once I’m by the blocks I usually like to stay calm. Everybody has their own little blocks routine, once you’ve been running for a while you get into the blocks a certain way every time. I guess what I do I’ve heard as “spider-ing” back into the blocks.

SL: What kind of goals do you have for the rest of the season?

DD: I would say at this point, on a small increment level, I would like to drop my time indoors long enough to secure going to nationals. After that I’m going to be excited if I get the opportunity to compete at nationals, because it’s invaluable for future competition, whether at nationals or local competition. I guess my ultimate goal as an athlete at this point would be to become an All-American in the high hurdles.

Davis and the Bears return to action at the Monmouth Fighting Scots Invitational on Feb. 13.