By Kyle Daubs
When talking to Davee about the upcoming season, one can hear the confidence in his voice. He knows what he wants and even though it comes off as cocky, that is not his intention.
“I’m going to have to start saying swagger,” said Davee. “I just feel confident in myself and what I can do. I know I can do anything as long as I have the right mindset.”
That starts off by making one bold statement, but more on that later.
The incoming Mattoon High School junior came out for cross country last season after spending his freshman season with soccer. Davee said Coach Ryan Ghere said he could be a good soccer player, but, after his freshman track season, he thought he could accomplish more with running.
He was right.
Davee cracked the 17-minute mark seven times, including a personal best 16:07.90 at the St. Anthony XC Classic. Despite missing track season, Davee said he has been training hard and believes he can take the next step towards putting his name out there.
“I feel like I have the ability to drop massive time this year,” Davee said. “I know this is a bold statement, but I know if I keep it up, I can get high 14:50s. That’s my goal. I want to break 15-minutes.”
Davee’s first season couldn’t have gone any better for some standards. He had 10 races where he finished at least top-10, including finishing All-Apollo with a fourth place overall finish.
All five of the top-five from the Apollo Conference are back, including individual champion Chris Cherry, a senior from Tayloville. However, Kyle Nofzigger and Joseph Scheele, both from Mahomet-Seymour, are Davee’s age and finished 15 and seven seconds respectively at the conference race.
“I think I can push for top-two if I continue to put in the training and not miss any workouts,” said Davee. “I feel like I have the same skill level as the guys from Mahomet-Seymour, if not better. I know that sounds cocky, but I feel confident.”
In terms of winning the race, Davee said that would be a tough task.
“Chris Cherry is untouchable to us kids,” said Davee. “He ran a 15:12 at the state meet. He is just an animal. Losing track season was tough because I wanted to stand my ground with the guys from Mahomet and show that I’m still here.”
Davee helped lead a young Mattoon group that qualified for the Decatur MacArthur Sectional as a team. At the Sectional meet, Davee finished 22nd overall and missed state by 25 seconds compared to the final individual qualifier, who was Nick Hanratty (Highland), who took ninth overall.
“Our workouts have featured a lot of mileage, but I have been splitting off and doing my own thing too,” said Davee. “We don’t do a lot of speed at practice, so I have been doing speed workouts. Easy days might have four or five miles. I’ve just been trying to take this seriously since early June.”
As for the team, Davee sees much improvement. All of Mattoon’s top runners are back, which include senior Josh Ramage and Tristan Grove, juniors Davee, Sam Ferrar, and sophomore Brandon Creel.
“I know our team can improve as long as they keep showing up and taking care of their workouts,” said Davee. “Josh had a stress fracture in tennis, so we’re hoping he will be in good shape in the season, or be able to run at all. Sam is a key aspect to our team. He’s going to be my ride or die. We have to get him under 16-minutes. The same goes for Brandon, if we are going to have a chance to get to state.”
Making state as a team, or making state as an individual, Davee made it obvious he wants to run in the big race in Peoria.
Of course, his confidence about racing rarely wavers.
“I know I can do it if I tough it out,” said Davee. “Mama didn’t raise, well, you can probably finish the rest.”
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