Davis finds his groove at YSU

YOUNGSTOWN – Youngstown State senior sprinter Mike Davis never considered himself an elite runner.

His stats say otherwise, but so does Davis.

“It’s a little surreal,” Davis said. “There’s been times I’ve been there like I’m, ‘Am I even on the track team?’ I don’t look as myself as a hard worker on the track. I’ve always been pretty lazy.

“It’s a little different than Mathews.”

Davis, a 2009 Mathews High School graduate, ended his indoor career as a Horizon League champion in the 60-meter dash on Feb. 24 inside the WATTS Center on YSU’s campus.

He sprinted 6.86 in the 60-meter dash – besting teammate Tarelle Irwin (6.91). In the 200, Irwin topped Davis 21.64 to 21.68.

“It’s great. Me and Tarelle have been running for four years,” Davis said. “This is the first time he’s won something indoors. I was happy. We always wanted to go first and second. I’ve always told him if anyone is going to beat me, it’s him.

“I’m just happy this way.”

Davis became a self-made runner the last four seasons. Ask YSU sprint coach David Townsend.

“Mike is a hard worker,” Townsend said. “Mike came out of high school running, maybe 10.8, 22.1. Mike worked real hard over the last four years, top sprinter in our conference. When Mike started to come around, he went in the 21.4s, 21.8s, 21.7s. Ever since then, he’s worked hard and become a better sprinter.”

Davis developed finishing power – something he didn’t have in high school.

“What I saw in Mike was his willingness to work, his acceleration for a big guy,” Townsend said. “He was always the first guy out of the blocks. That’s what you look for kid who is 6-1, 6-2. I knew his mechanics needed a little bit of work on though. Like I said, he worked pretty hard. The progression Mike has made has been phenomenal.

“It doesn’t happen with every athlete in college like that.”

It was a matter of work ethic for Davis, who is majoring in industrial engineering.

“In high school, I was a little bit lazy,” he said. “I did what I wanted. In college, it was a little more strict. I got in better shape. The times prove that. I run faster and faster every year.”

Davis finished in the top 65-70 in the nation during indoor – not good enough for nationals.

However, he’s hoping to get into the top 48 during outdoor season in the 100.

“We want to be the top 48 going down to the regional, running from 10.4 down to about 10.2 and qualify for the nationals,” Townsend said.

Then, if Davis gets to nationals in June?

“If something happens that I go to nationals, I’ll be ecstatic,” he said.

It’s been a long path for Davis – a runner who finished second at Division III state in the 100 in 2009.

What if Davis had his current work ethic and running prowess in 2009?

“I would’ve been way better and I probably wouldn’t have come here,” Davis said. “I was going to come here anyway for school.

“Track was a little thing I did on the side. I became more serious about track as time went on.”

It became a beneficial move for both Davis and YSU.