Freshman, 26, runs back to competition

October 10, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

His new teammates affectionately tagged him with the nickname "Pappy" in the first week of training, and he was the best man at his coach's wedding a few years back.

Western Maryland College cross country runner Greg Davis is not your typical freshman.

After a solid running career at Westminster High in the mid-1980s where he competed in cross country and track, Davis, 26, made a pledge to himself to one day compete at the college level. And now he is.

"It's very important to see how good you can be. It's kind of like completing the final chapter of a career," he said.

Davis said his parents couldn't afford to send him to college after he graduated from Westminster in 1985. After a short stint in the military, he opened a construction and development company in Fort Myers, Fla. Then it just came time to go back to school.

His choice of schools was easy. Western Maryland coach Doug Renner was Davis' coach at Westminster, and the two have been good friends for some time.

NTC "His family moved to Alabama right after graduation, but we kept in touch all along. We became very close and he was my best man at my wedding," said Renner.

"Greg got the idea he'd like to go back to school and run. He didn't feel he got as much out of his running as he could. I just wanted him to do what was best for Greg and was glad see him to get back to school. I'm tickled he chose Western Maryland."

It hasn't taken Davis long to be a leader on the team, but it hasn't been easy adjusting to college life and running again.

He spent between 60 and 90 hours a week running the business he still has in Florida -- leaving him no time to keep in running shape.

"I hadn't run in years with the business keeping me busy, and was up to 210 pounds when I first came back. I lost 11 pounds in the first week and am now down to 160," Davis said.

"It's been more difficult studying and that aspect of college [he's majoring in biology]. The running has come fairly easy. My times have been slow getting back into things -- but it's coming."

Track has always been Davis' forte, and he is looking forward to the spring season. At Westminster High, he finished second in the state meet in the 3,200 and also excelled in other events.

He also has run well this fall in cross country. He's been the Green Terrors' top finisher in each of their first three invitationals. Just as important, he's been a leader on a young squad.

"Our top seven or eight guys are freshmen and sophomores, so we're looking to build something big for the future," said Renner.

"The guys kid around with him and call him Pappy because he's a little older. He's gotten a lot of respect and has been a leader from the start. If he's not leading in every workout he's busting his butt to be among them and the younger guys see how hard he's working and it makes them work that much harder."

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