Davis enjoys track and field buffet

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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When it came to high school track and field, Willa Davis could not find enough events to satisfy her appetite last spring. This summer, the Bear River High graduate is getting her fill. Davis is headed to the National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships next week in Wichita, Kan., where she will compete in the heptathlon. “In high school meets I would usually do four events and at the end of it I always wanted to do more,” Davis said. “I thought this summer I would try the heptathlon. You have to be good at all the events and you have to balance a lot of things. I have to be patient with myself.” Davis’ athletic interests fall in line with her academic pursuits. Next month she is off to Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, where she’ll study political science. She dreams of working in Washington, D.C. someday in the heptathlon-like world of politics. Davis, who played soccer year-round throughout high school, plans to compete for Dickinson’s track and field squad next spring. She’s immersing herself in training with the Sierra Foothill Track Club this summer. At the Region 14 meet earlier this month in Stockton, Davis was the lone competitor in the heptathlon in the Young Women’s Division. Her performance was tough to gauge considering the lack of competition, but Davis knows there will be some stellar athletes in Wichita. “Realistically, I just want to keep improving,” Davis said. “I’m just going to do what I can do.” Jeff Gallero, the Sierra Foothills Track Club coach, said ideally, Davis would have a few more weeks to train and refine her technique in events like the hurdles and javelin. But Gallero believes her athleticism and smarts will take her a long way. “She’s a good athlete, she’s talented, but she’s just fresh out of the box,” Gallero said. “She’s been dedicated to getting each event down and she’s made good progress.” Davis said the running events — the 200 meters and the 800 — have been the easiest to prepare for, but the 100 hurdles have provided the biggest challenge. “It’s the first event of the day too, so if that doesn’t go well, I have to just say, ‘That’s OK,’ and move on,” she said. Davis’ father Chris recently retired as the cross country and track and field coach at Bear River after several years. He still teaches English at Nevada Union. While standout Kendal Nielsen drew much of the attention on the Bear River track and field squad last spring, Davis was a steady performer for the Bruins. She competed in the shot put, discus and both relay events and sometimes lined up in the 100, 200 and the long jump. Davis has trained for the wide variety of events by focusing on two per day and working in strength and conditioning drills. She’s motivated by the quest to compete in college and has a fresh perspective on the sport. “It’s all new and exciting,” she said.