Archive for Thursday, October 25, 2007

Davis to make long-awaited state debut

October 25, 2007

— The 2006 Class 5A regional cross country meet was supposed to be Griffin Davis' breakthrough.

A third-year varsity runner at Lansing High, Davis was coming on strong late in the season and had his sights set on qualifying for state for the first time. Then, on a dreary, rain-drenched morning at Shawnee Mission Park, Davis got the ultimate raw deal. The starter didn't follow the pre-race instructions, and Davis was still in his warm-ups when the starting gun popped.

Fueled by rage, he tore off his warmup pants and caught up to the pack, but he failed to qualify for state.

"I was so mad," Davis recalled.

He never forgot that feeling, and Saturday at the 2007 regional meet at Wyandotte County Park, Davis got his redemption. He pushed himself from the beginning, weaved his way through the pack and placed 23rd in 18:51. About 20 minutes later at the awards ceremony, he heard his name called as a state qualifier.

"I didn't even realize I was even close," said Davis, a senior. "When I was running I was like, 'You know, this could be my last race. I'm going to go as hard as I can.'"

The celebration was shared by his teammates and coaches, all of who were thrilled to see him qualify.

"He was disappointed after last year's regional, and understandably so," assistant coach Melanie King said. "He's worked really hard for four years, and he deserves this. He absolutely deserves this. He's paid his dues. Just being able to go means an awful lot to him."

LHS head coach Errol Logue agreed.

"He deserves it because he was aggressive," Logue said. "Sometimes he doesn't run aggressive, but today he went out and ran aggressive."

Davis won't be alone at the starting line when he races Saturday at state at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence. Sophomore Brandon Craig and freshman Pete LaMoe will be there with him. Craig placed ninth at regionals in 17:34, and LaMoe was 24th in 19:02.

For LaMoe, state should be a springboard for the rest of his career. For Craig - who also qualified for state as a freshman - the goals are bigger.

"Obviously he's going to shoot for a top 20 spot," Logue said. "I don't know if he can get it, but I just want to see a good, solid race from him."

St. Thomas Aquinas won the regional title with a perfect score of 15 points. Bonner Springs, Bishop Miege and Mill Valley also are sending full squads to state.

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