Male Athlete of the Week: Strasburg’s Davis hitting his stride heading into states

Ryan Davis Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG – Ryan Davis wasn’t happy with his race in the Conference 35 meet a few weeks ago, but that just gave him a little more motivation for last week’s Region 2A East meet.

The Strasburg junior placed seventh in the 5K race held at the Panorama Farms course in Earlysville on Wednesday. Davis said he also knew what was at stake in the race – a berth in this weekend’s Group 2A state meet.

“I was really focused, because I knew I had to make top 15 to make it the state meet,” Davis said. “So I was really focused on that. …(Conference 35 meet) definitely motivated me a lot more, because I really didn’t do what I wanted to do at conference. But I was able to get over it and really focus on the regionals.”

Davis finished the Region 2A East meet in a time of 17:22, and said it was the best time he had ever had on that course. Davis said it was his third time running on that course, and he felt that helped him.

“I knew that it was just really hilly, and I knew when to really push it and that’s what I did,” Davis said. “It’s a good challenging course.”

For his All-Region performance, Davis earned The Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for the week of Nov. 2-8.

Earlier this season, Davis won the Shenandoah County meet.

Davis said he started running cross country in seventh grade, and really loves the competitiveness of it.

As a freshman, Davis said he ran JV races most of the season, but was able to earn a varsity spot at the end of the season and compete in the postseason with the varsity.

“It was a really good learning experience,” Davis said. “I learned from my teammates. It was also my first time racing 5K’s and it was really fun.”

Davis said he knocked 30 seconds off his time from his freshman to sophomore season.

Last year at the state meet Davis finished 27th in a time of 17:42. The Rams finished third as a team, but things have gone much differently for the team this season.

Strasburg had several top runners not come out for the team, but the Rams still finished just one spot out of qualifying for the state meet. Strasburg coach Jeff Rudy said he’s very happy with how Davis has stepped up this season.

“It’s exciting to see Ryan stepping up into more of a leadership role and assume the No. 1 running spot,” Rudy said. “His training is going in the right direction, not only for this season, but overall from ninth grade to 10th grade and now as a junior. We’re excited to see where his training and his development as a runner will go throughout the rest of his high school career.”

Davis will not be completely alone this weekend at the state meet as teammate Logan Smalls also qualified. Davis said the two push each other and help each other get better.

He said it will be a strange feeling not having the whole team with them at the state meet.

“It’s definitely different. It’s going to be weird on the starting line having just one teammate with me,” Davis said. “I’m excited for it.”

Davis said he’s really improved on his pacing throughout the race, and that could help him this weekend.

He said his main goals in the state meet are to get his time under 17 minutes, and to make All-State, which will allow the top 15 finishers.

Davis has had a very strong season for the Rams, and said he feels this season will help him in the upcoming track season and for next year.

“The way I’m running right now really motivates me to see what I can do next year for cross country, and this upcoming year for track,” Davis said.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com