Nathaniel Davis of Sweet Home was very tired by the time Saturday’s ECIC track and field championships at Hamburg High School. You would be tired too if you entered and won four different events on the same day.
Who’s idea was that, anyway?
“It wasn’t mine, I’ll say that,” Davis said with a smile.
Panthers coach Brian Lombardo did give the junior a little bit of a break in his final event. Davis put up a distance of 44 feet in the triple jump, and was told not to jump again until somebody passed him.
That didn’t come close to happening. He won the event by more than three feet.
“I was just very tired at that point,” Davis said.
Tired but happy. It was a remarkable performance by almost any definition. Saturday’s meet took about five hours to complete, and that was the second of two days for the competition. Davis had some qualifying races the day before, making Saturday something of an endurance test.
“Obviously he’s an elite athlete,” Lombardo said. “But there are a lot of guys who can be an elite athlete from the aspect of physical talent. I was very impressed with Nate this week about how he handled everything. He was always at the right spot at the right time.
“Even if you are physically talented, you need to have that other side of it, where you know how to take care of yourself. It really turns into a 48-hour experience. I thought that was the best thing he did all weekend, which is why you saw the results you saw.”
Davis’ day started with a win in the 400-meter dash, crossing the finish line in 48.72 seconds. That was a second and a half ahead of teammate Eric Johnson. Then it was on to the 100-meter dash, as the junior was the only person to crack 11 seconds at 10.92.
Last was the 200-meter dash. Davis had broken the meet record in qualifying on Friday with a stunning time of 21.34. He didn’t match that number in the final, but he didn’t need to do so to win. Davis finished in 22.04 seconds to beat Logan Yoder of Starpoint by about a half-second.
The junior might have caught a break in that his favorite sprinting event was the last of the three.
“I’d probably have to say the 200,” Davis answered when asked which one he preferred. “With the 400, I don’t like the feeling afterwards. During the race, you feel fine, but at the end it’s a struggle.”
As you’d expect, he is peaking at just the right time as regional and state competition moves closer and closer.
“I’d definitely say with the 200 yesterday and the 400 today, I feel like I’m starting to make a big breakthrough.”
Combine Davis’ day with the performance of Jenna Crean of Orchard Park in the three sprints, and it was a fabulous day for those two athletes.
“They are both unbelievably talented,” Lombardo said. “She had the same kind of day. It’s rare to have one 100-200-400 winner, and we had two of them. It shows what you can do.”
Davis gave his Sweet Home team a head start in the boys large school competition, but the whole team did well in picking up a convincing win for the championship. The Panthers had 129 points, well ahead of Lancaster’s 90.
“I thought the guys who needed to do well did so,” Lombardo said. “We scored across the board. We had a lot of big events and good performances, up and down the list. Our kids knew coming in what they had to do, and that’s what we needed to do right from the start.”
In the small school division, Cheektowaga’s program continued to make dramatic strides forward. The Warriors romped in that division of the race, piling up 158 points to win easily. East Aurora finished second with 89, while Alden was third at 77.
Sweet Home had two other winners in Chris Nowak in the 1,600 (4:17.26) and Johnson in the 400 hurdles (56.75).
Max Bowden of Starpoint won the 110 hurdles (15.70) and the pole vault (12-7). Other winners on Saturday were: Joshua Glaub of West Seneca East in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:51.57), Jamieson Reid of Williamsville East in the pentathlon (2,751 points), Dom Farszmil of West Seneca East in the high jump (6-4), and Paul Kemsley of Lancaster in the discus, who won his specialty by 28 feet (178-10).