Athlete of the Week April 23

Athlete of the Week April 23


Athlete of the Week April 23


Willie Davis

Junior ● Woodbridge ● Wrestling/Track & field

THE WEEK: Davis placed fifth and earned All-American status at the annual High School Wrestling National Championships in Virginia Beach, Va. He also won a pair of pole vault competitions, one in a tri-meet and the second at the Keith Burgess Invitational at Lake Forest High School.

THE SPORTS: Davis placed third in the 145-pound weight class at this year’s DIAA Individual Wrestling State Championships after getting outpointed by Salesianum’s Lou Fedelo 6-3 in the championship semifinal round. This spring, he has returned to track and field.

“I wrestle a lot more than I pole vault,” Davis said. “I wrestle all year to get better at wrestling. Pole vault’s more of a hobby. Wrestling is more like my main sport.”

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Willie Davis’s older brother, Patrick, was a Henlopen Conference championship winning pole-vaulter and a two-time wrestling state champion. Their father, Matt, has been a big help by helping the two improve their technique at pole vaulting and wrestling.

“[Patrick] kind of inspired me to pole vault,” Davis said. “My dad helps me a lot with my technique. He helped my brother, too. He kind of learns from videos online and stuff.”

LEARNING TO FLY: “It’s really scary actually at first,” Davis said of the pole vault. “You’ve got to get past the bend of the pole and then it’s all easy from there.”

UNIQUE SITUATIONS: Davis wrestled under Jenna Pavlik, the first female head wrestling coach at a high school in Delaware, last season. “We just looked at her as coach,” he said. He is also competing for a track team that consists of only about 20 members.

GOALS ARE SET: Davis hopes to clear 14 feet in the pole vault by the end of this season. His best effort so far this year has been 12 feet. While that is well off Caravel’s Brandon Stacy’s season-best mark of 14-7 set at the Twilight Relays, Davis stresses that this is the first time he’s seriously pole vaulted since the eighth grade. He is also hungry to win a state championship in wrestling next season, when he plans on moving up to the 152- or 160-pound class after “lifting a lot of weights this summer.”

IN THE CLASSROOM: “I like math, that’s my favorite,” he said. “I’ve always liked doing puzzles and every math problem is just like a puzzle to me.”

THE FUTURE: Davis, who is 5-foot-8, 155 pounds, hopes to wrestle at a Division I university. He says he is “being recruited by several colleges right now,” but there is no clear frontrunner just yet.

– Mike Finney

More USA TODAY High School Sports
Athlete of the Week April 23
I found this story on USA TODAY High School Sports and wanted to share it with you: %link% For more high school stories, stats and videos, visit