NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Nic Davis will be a sophomore at North Platte High School in the fall. As a freshman, he qualified for the state track and field meet in discus, and finished in fifth place.
NPHS sophomore Nic Davis qualified for the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics in shot put, discus, hammer throw, and javelin (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)
Now, Davis will be heading to Sacramento, CA to participate in the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics from July 22 to July 28. Davis qualified for discus, shot put, javelin, and hammer throw, finishing in first for shot put, javelin, and hammer throw at Regionals, and in third in discus.
Hammer throw and javelin are not offered as events for high school track and field in Nebraska, and Davis just recently learned both hammer throw and javelin.
"I started with the hammer about a couple of weeks ago, and javelin was about a year ago, but I haven't worked with it until now," Davis said.
Despite his inexperience, Davis' farthest throw in javelin was less than a meter short of the Region meet record, which was set in 1996.
Davis was taught javelin by NPHS football coach Todd Rice, who used to coach javelin in Kansas.
NPHS throwing coach Steve Miller coaches Davis, and taught him hammer throw, after competing in it himself in college. Miller is pleased with the growth Davis showed this year alone, and believes he has a lot of potential.
"Nic's really come a long way this year. He's still a young pup, he's still learning a lot of the things as far as what he can do with it. Being able to throw 52.8 in the shot as a freshman, that's an incredible throw," Miller said.
Davis qualified for the Nationals two years ago, and having that experience will help him compete this year.
"You just focus on the little things, your footwork, your approach, you've just got to relax, and get your best marks," Davis said.
Davis says competing in the Junior Olympics is relaxing, because, unlike typical high school competitions, the athletes he competes against are the same as as him.
Miller has seen Davis compete on big stages before, and says he is a little nervous, still being so young, but believes as he competes against tougher opponents, he will adjust and thrive.
"I know right now he's still a little self-conscious, especially with the bigger competitions. Once he starts having the success at the higher level, he's going to start craving it a lot more, and when he starts learning to get in there and own the rings, that's when he's going to be ready to be able to start doing some big things with it," Miller said.
Leading up to the competition, Davis plans to continue throwing to stay in shape and get stronger.
When he isn't throwing, Davis lifts weights regularly, and he is also on the NPHS football team.
"When a lot of people think of throwers, they think of the biggest people they can possibly find, but they don't realize it's usually the most athletic people. Just with Nic's athleticism, being able to get out and do something, that's what's really great with it," Miller said.
When he's not playing sports, or training for them, he has a lawn mowing business, which is helping him pay his way to California. He started about six years ago, and mows lawns seven months of the year. By Davis' estimate, he mows approximately 70 lawns a week.
Davis isn't just a stellar athlete, he is a great student as well, with a 4.0 grade point average. He says his favorite subjects are math and science. Davis says he has no problems balancing school, work, and sports, because academics come naturally to him.