Illini of the Week: Davis makes gains on field, stock market


Photo Courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

Redshirt senior Jon Davis competes in a cross country race. Davis recently placed second in the Big Ten Championship and made significant gains in the stock market.

By Carson Gourdie, Assistant Sports Editor

Everyone in America became their own Jordan Belfort over the past week. 

Taking advice from WallsStreetBets, a subreddit where participants discuss stock and options trading, Robinhood users flooded low revenue companies with investments, causing stocks for troubled companies, including GameStop and AMC, to soar. The result: Millionaires overnight. 

Investing in these companies seemed like a callback to 2006, and staying in too long caused even further financial stress for a lot of Americans trying to get out of a hole. Luckily for redshirt senior Jon Davis, he was able to walk and chew gum at the same time. 

A self-admitted financial junkie, who watches a lot of podcasts and Mad Money, Davis was able to make a profit from the bull market while cementing his status as an All-American in cross country, as he finished second place in the conference championship over the weekend. 

“I really couldn’t get away from it when we were in the hotel,” said Davis about the stock market. “I watched a lot of Bloomberg News and CNBC, and I was able to make some money this week.”

Davis invested heavily in the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, which gained a lot of momentum from investors after being hyped up on Reddit. Though the stock never topped $0.10, it was less than a cent before it took off, so a large investment could still net a sizable profit. 

While driving down to Shelbyville, Indiana for his cross country meet, Davis noticed his investment appreciated by 82% in just three hours, prompting him to sell his shares immediately to guarantee a profit. 

“My brain just flooded with dopamine,” Davis said. 

But Davis’ stockbroking habit didn’t happen overnight. The Oakwood, Illinois native has been a player in the market for a while now, and he even purchased a lot of shares of various companies when the market tumbled in March due to the worries COVID-19 would have on the economy. 

Though stocks fell hard in March, the market roared back in the summer before the Dow Jones hit an all-time high this January. 

Davis, who is about to pay capital gain taxes on his investments, currently prefers making short-term investments, hoping to cash in on his financial knowledge for immediate impact. However, his Dogecoin experiment even opened his own eyes. 

“What I did this week was very uncharacteristic,” Davis said. “I had some money to blow, and I thought it was a good time to buy Dogecoin. If you run that simulation with me 100 times, I think nine out of 10 times I don’t do it.”

After earning a profit, Davis thought about reinvesting his earnings into AMC and Gamestop, trying to ride the wave of unorthodox investing. But after a nice night’s rest, Davis decided to get out before it was too late. 

While Davis was busy making successful investments, it didn’t distract him from the main mission: Representing his school well at the Big Ten championship. 

Davis is by far the gold standard for the cross country team. While Davis finished second in the conference with a time of 24:01.8 in the 8k, the second-fastest Illini — Tyler Cushing — finished 50 seconds behind him, placing 31st in the conference. 

Davis isn’t one dimensional, however. The redshirt senior excels on the track, too, which earned him USTFCCCA Midwest Region Indoor Track Athlete of the Year honors in 2018. 

Davis is a top performer in track, but his heart belongs outside with cross country, as he appreciates the moments he’s created with his peers. 

“I’ve won more track races than cross country, which is pretty sweet,” Davis said. “Cross country, the team aspect of that is something super special you can’t quite get from track, so I value that.”

After finishing up his cross country career after next season, the former history major plans to graduate with a master’s in accountancy, hoping to translate that into a secure career at an accounting firm, a far cry from his current investment style. 

While Davis doesn’t plan on running a hedge fund, he’s by no means giving up his interest in the stock market; instead, he plans a transition into long-term investments once he gets a steady income. 

Next up for Davis is an appearance in the NCAA national championship, which doesn’t occur until mid-March. Up until then, Davis will continue to represent the orange and blue on the track while probably continuing to keep an eye on Wall Street, though he doesn’t plan on being too risky. 

“Don’t get caught up in the hype,” Davis said. “A lot of people lost money, and I could’ve very well been one of those people.”


[email protected]