Versatility key for Strasburg’s Davis

Strasburg's Grace Davis performs the long jump during practice this week. The senior was named the Most Outstanding Female Performer at last week's Shenandoah County meet. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG – Grace Davis is a fast learner.

The Strasburg senior hasn’t had much time to learn a few new events she is performing in this season, but she has already enjoyed a lot of success in them.

Davis started doing the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles just a few weeks ago and finished second in both events in last week’s Shenandoah County meet. She said it was just her third meet performing in the hurdles.

“It’s definitely been hard on my shins,” Davis said with a laugh before Tuesday’s practice. “But besides that, it’s really fun. It’s kind of different because I’ve never done anything like that before. I hurdled in middle school, but it’s completely different. It’s definitely better for me this year because my leg turnover isn’t as quick as I’ve gotten older. I gained more strength, though. So it’s like a cool switch off. I’m like more powerful, which is good; it’s better in the hurdles.”

Davis’ versatility has paid off in big ways for the Rams this season. She won the Shenandoah County meet’s Most Outstanding Female Performer, which is given to the athlete who scores the most points for the team. It was the third time in four years that she had won the award.

“I took a different approach than the other times that I had won (the award) before,” Davis said. “I didn’t do as many events, but I was placing higher up the past years. This year it was spread out, but I was getting a lot of seconds. But I knew that since I was in more events, it would add up.”

Davis placed second in the 100 hurdles in 19 seconds flat, and second in the 300 hurdles in 54.50. She also finished second in the triple jump (30-10.50) and third in the long jump (14-05.50). Perhaps her most surprising result came in the high jump.

She won the high jump with a leap of 4-04. It was only the second time she had ever performed in the event.

“I did it once last year at (the Shenandoah) county (meet) and got second,” she said. “I don’t really have any real prior experience with that. I guess I’m just a decent jumper, so I can kind of figure it out.”

Strasburg coach Ina Rae Crisman said that it’s been great to have an athlete like Davis on the team who can do so many different events. Crisman said that Davis is a real leader for the girls team.

“She just contributes. She just brings everyone up,” Crisman said. “She has a positive attitude. She’s always a good teammate to everyone around her. She helps with everything. She’s such a competitor. She’s just a real competitor. When she has that competition, you can see it in her eyes.”

Davis said it meant a lot for her to win the award for the top female at the Shenandoah County meet in her senior year, especially since she came up a little short of winning it last season.

“It kind of feels good because this year was almost a like a comeback year for me having not won it last year,” she said. “It’s a real exciting experience knowing that I can contribute alone that much to the team. I know they rely on me, but it’s a good feeling to have it pay off.”

Davis’ success in last week’s meet helped the Rams win the girls team title for the first time since 2012. Strasburg won by 42 points over second-place Central.

“It was so exciting because I knew that they wanted it as bad as I did,” she said. “We had talked about it for a while. And when we pulled it off and by so much – there was such a gap between us and second place. It was really cool to know that we were able to win by that much. We put so much effort forward, and it was from the entire team.”

Davis and the Rams will participate in the Bull Run District meet Thursday at Strasburg, and she said she’s excited to see how the team does in another big event.

She said her main goal now is to qualify for the state meet in an event. Last year, she qualified for the state meet for the first time in her career in the long jump. Davis said going to the state meet last year was great, and she just wants to go back one last time.

“I don’t even know if I will place in anything at states, probably not, but it will just be a cool experience to go again,” Davis said. I’m definitely excited for that.”