Wade Davis sought out Williams College because of its academic reputation, but it didn’t hurt that the liberal arts school in Williamstown, Mass., has a winning tradition in cross country and track.

Those sports were specialties for Davis during his years at Hall-Dale High School, where he won two Class C cross country titles as well as a state track championship in the 3,200-meter run. After adjusting to the rigors of collegiate running, Davis has continued that success.

Now a junior, Davis recently helped the Ephs to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Division III cross country championships while placing 57th overall. This came on the heels of a stress fracture he suffered during the outdoor track season.

“It was actually fantastic,” Williams coach Peter Farwell said of Davis’ season. “Especially coming off a femur stress fracture last spring. I was really, really impressed.”

Davis posted his best collegiate time ever at the nationals last Saturday in Wisconsin, finishing the 8K course in 25 minutes, 7.92 seconds, a pace just over five minutes per mile. He went out quickly and helped the Ephs to a pack time of 18 seconds, best at the meet.

“He’s fundamental to that pack,” said Farwell, who has dozens of regional and national coaching honors dating to 1979. “I think people swarm around him. At every meet, he’s been the central guy in that lineup and the one they key off.”

Despite his high school credentials, Davis didn’t achieve overnight success in college.

“It’s been a progression through my college career,” he said, “mostly through building mileage.”

That mileage went from 50-60 miles a week to 80-90 miles. It might have contributed to a stress fracture that kept Davis out of action eight weeks last spring.

“We worked on his stride,” Farwell said. “We didn’t quite have that in place. He’s a very industrious trainer.”

Davis didn’t break into the top cross country group his freshman year, but he became a mainstay last fall and competed in the nationals. He has continued to improve since.

“Next year he’ll be a senior veteran, a leader and a go-to guy,” Farwell said.

Davis doesn’t have great finishing speed but has worked on that, too. Farwell expects him to see some personal bests in the 3k and 5k races during the indoor season. In the long run, he probably is best suited for the 10k, at which he will compete during the outdoor season.

Despite his affinity for track, cross country remains Davis’ passion.

“Cross country is by far my favorite because of the team aspect,” he said. “Also I like running on various courses.”

Farwell said recruitment practices at Williams are centered around academics, but not to the exclusion of athletic ability.

“It was primarily the academic reputation,” said Davis, an economics and environmental science major. “But I definitely communicated with the coaches. I also liked the location.”

During his training Davis throws in a long run of 15-17 miles once a week and said he would consider running a marathon or two someday.

“It’s definitely a lifelong sport,” he said. “Right now I’m just focused on the next season.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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