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University of Minnesota

One less weight to carry

May 12, 2010

Trey Davis throws a shot put in a meet.

Trey Davis had a big weekend at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in Bloomington, Indiana, as Minnesota defended its team title. Davis finished third in the discus on Saturday and then second in the shot put on Sunday. The Gophers tallied 145 points, 21 more than runner-up Wisconsin.

Photo: Becky Miller

U’s Trey Davis decides to leave behind football, focus on track

By Rick Moore

So you think it’s easy being a two-sport athlete at the University of Minnesota? Consider Trey Davis’s schedule last March and April.

During the five weeks of spring practice, Davis would work out in the morning with the football team and then head off to his classes. After school it was off to track and field practice and weightlifting, then a concerted attempt to do his studying and get to bed at a reasonable hour … so that he could do it all over again the next day.

Davis smiles at the recollection, and it’s one of those smiles that carry a tinge of pain. “I can remember coming to track practice some days last year just exhausted. I could barely do anything,” he says. “My body was beat up from football practice. And then trying to stay on top of academics—that’s important to me. I don’t like to do things haphazardly.”

There’s nothing haphazard about his attention to schoolwork. He’s double majoring in history and political science and has been named Academic All-Big Ten three times.

Even though Davis looks the part of both a center in football and a thrower (shot put, discus, and hammer) in track, he came to see himself as a college student spread too thin. So he recently decided to leave football behind and focus on his track career.

Getting back what he gives

On the surface it might seem like an odd choice: giving up the glory sport of college football—running out of the tunnel to the cheers of 50,000 fans—for the relative anonymity of men’s track and field, where, outside of the Summer Olympics, most spectators are close friends and family members.

Yes, he was spread too thin. But track also seems to align better with his personality.

Gophers defend title

The men’s track team made it four titles in a row by capturing the Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships over the weekend. Minnesota scored 145 points, outpacing Wisconsin (124) and Ohio State (115).

Davis had a big weekend for the Gophers. He finished third in the discus with a throw of 172-9, then finished second in the shot put with a career-best heave of 60-0 1/2, eighth best in Minnesota history.

“I’m always the kind of person that likes to do things myself; I’m pretty independent that way,” says the soft-spoken Davis. “The appealing thing about track is that it’s something where I can go out and I can work on my throw by myself for however long I need to. In football, I can’t go and say, ‘C’mon guys, let’s work on this play for a half hour.’ …

“Track is unique in that it’s all about what you put into it. You can’t really fake your effort and attitude in track because it’s directly correlated to your performances. … It really is all about what you put into it.”

Still, hanging up the shoulder pads wasn’t easy for a player who was ranked the 31st best guard in the nation coming out of Farmington High School in 2007. He started in six games for the Gophers over the past two seasons.

“There’s been a lot of special memories from playing football that I’ll never forget,” he says. “Obviously, going into TCF Bank Stadium that first game is a special memory. At the end, it came down to [knowing] I could keep doing two sports and I could be average at both, or I could choose to do the thing that I really enjoy doing—really love doing—and give myself an opportunity to be pretty good at that.”

A good future in track

“Now that he’s going to be focusing on track full time, I think he can be a major, major contributor to the program,” says Lynden Reder, Davis’s throwing coach.

Davis finished fourth in shot put (17.51 meters) at the Big Ten Indoor Championships this year as a sophomore, and Reder points out that underclassmen don't typically excel in throws. But he appreciates Davis for more than just his scoring potential.

“Everybody looks up to Trey and everybody was excited when he would pop by, even during the football season," adds Reder. "He’s already been a leader while doing both sports, but especially now that’s he’s focusing on one, he’ll definitely be a leader on the team.”


Tags: Athletics

Read more about the Gophers defending their Big Ten title at Big Ten Championships.

Read more about University of Minnesota Athletics at Gopher Sports.