The Daily Illini

Davis Reflects on sub-24:00 performance at Greater Louisville Classic

The men taking off at the Illini Challenge 2015 at the Arboretum on September 4.

The men taking off at the Illini Challenge 2015 at the Arboretum on September 4.

Jovanie De La Cruz | The Daily I

Jovanie De La Cruz | The Daily I

The men taking off at the Illini Challenge 2015 at the Arboretum on September 4.

By Jared Farmer, Staff writer

Illinois cross country runner Jon Davis may have finished in 12th place with a time of 23 minutes and 43 seconds at the Greater Louisville Classic, but he finished in fourth in the Illinois record books.

Davis’ time is thirty seconds faster than his previous race at Beantown (24:13), and is the fastest 8K run by an Illini since Dylan Lafond set the school record at the 2015 Big Ten Championships in Chicago with a time of 23:22.

Davis’ time is technically the third fastest in school history among 8K races, as Ty Wolfe’s time of 23:43 was clocked during his 10K meter race at the 1984 NCAA District IV meet. Trent Hoerr has the second fastest time in school history with a time of 23:39 in 2007 at Pre-Nationals.

Running the fourth fastest 8K in school history is no small feat, but Davis said it was made possible by the training he does.

“We actually took a different approach to training this year,” said Davis. “We’ve really focused on strength, and didn’t start working out until September. It’s different from most other teams, but I believe it’s paying off.”

Head coach Jake Stewart said Davis has taken his experience from past seasons and has learned what it takes to succeed.

“Jon has made natural progressions in his training,” Stewart said. “He increased his mileage, his intensity, and took what he learned from last year and is applying that to this year.”

Despite the impressive finish, Davis remains humble and keeps the same team-first attitude that the Illini have bought into.

“It’s actually interesting, because this team doesn’t have a defined leader,” Davis said. “All of us really step up and lead when we need to, and I think that’s really helped us succeed. One day it might be me, one day it might be Jesse, one day it might be Alex Gold. I feel like everyone steps up when they see fit, but I don’t see our team as having a defined leadership role.”

Davis also believes that the team’s success in the field is due in part to its close relationships off of it.

“They’re the group of my best friends,” Davis said. “We hang out on the weekends, and when we’re not doing schoolwork we’ll hang out with each other most evenings. One of the reasons I chose to commit here was because of the strong bond these guys had when I visited. It really drew someone like me, who would need support from a really close team, and these guys definitely provide that.”

After two solid performances, the No. 19-ranked Illini (up from No. 27 before two weeks ago) might start garnering attention from other programs. That doesn’t seem to worry Davis, who is determined to see the team continue to compete with the best.

“I feel as though teams in our region and conference have started taking notice of us, but nationally there’s still a lot of teams that don’t understand what we can be,” Davis said. “What’s important is that we know what we’re capable of, and I know for sure that our best days are ahead of us. I’m sure every team can say that, but I can say that with confidence about us.”



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