GLENDALE — Even though Glendale High senior Michael Davis has made a name for himself in short sprints, this weekend the Nitros runner will conclude a long and dominant four-year run at the 95th annual CIF State Track and Field Championships at Clovis Buchanan High.
Davis, the Pacific League champion in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, is slated to compete in Friday’s state 200 preliminaries, set to begin at 8:50 p.m.
Davis enters with the state’s sixth-best seeded mark of 21.42 seconds, which was gained at Friday’s CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College.
While there are currently three heats set to accommodate 27 athletes from throughout the state of California, it is likely Davis will run in the final race with heavyweights such as Sherman Oaks Notre Dame’s Khalfani Muhammad and Loyola’s Morgan Simon.
“When you run with great runners, sometimes you can lose a little focus and I almost did,” Davis said after a sharp turn in Friday’s meet. “It’s easy to look over and see those guys and want to run their race instead of yours.”
To qualify to Saturday’s state championship at 8:38 p.m., a 200-meter competitor will either need to win his individual heat or produce one of the next six fastest overall times.
Last season, Davis finished third in his heat in his inaugural state visit.
Davis’ time of 21.67 trailed only that of Muhammad (21.16) and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Elijah Mitchell (21.52) in his heat, as he was the ninth and final qualifier, just edging out Gilroy’s Jourdan Soares (21.73).
The following day, Davis finished seventh overall with a mark of 21.85. The two points gained by Davis’ finish actually tied Glendale for 72nd in state in the overall team standings.
The effort capped a season in which Davis shattered the school’s 200-meter mark of 21.45, set by Craig Harzmann in 1992, and became Glendale High’s first state qualifier since Richard Erbes advanced in the 3,200-meter run in 1986.
“Finishing seventh was a big accomplishment for him and for this community,” Glendale athletic director Pat Lancaster said. “Glendale has had such a rich, deep and storied history that’s almost disappeared. To see someone like Mike accomplish what he has is special.”
Davis is hoping to bank on last season’s knowledge and appears to be running his best heading into Clovis.
“It helps to have experience from last year,” Davis said after the Masters Meet. “Last year, I didn’t know what to expect and I took seventh. I’ve seen most of these guys before and know I’m going to have to do my best.”
While Davis is expected to advance to Saturday, cracking the top three may take a Herculean effort.
The race favorite is the aforementioned Muhammad, the University of California-bound senior who won the title last season with a time of 21.15, ahead of Simon (21.33).
Muhammad is coming off a time of 20.73 at last weekend’s Masters Meet, which according to prepcaltrack.com, is the 10th fastest mark all-time in the state of California.
The 200 field also includes Simon (21.05), sensational sophomore Myles Valentine (21.15) and Antelope Valley’s Robert Ellis (21.32).