Carlos and Khalil Davis are headline makers.
Whether they are signing to play football at the University of Nebraska or blowing away the competition in the shot put and discus, they are accustomed to standing in the spotlight.
Yet, while walking down to a recent track and field practice session at Peve Stadium, the twins talked about their love of the sport and a special teammate.
Senior Jayme Allen, who is a first-year member of the Wildcat squad, has served as an inspiration to the two premier throwers in the metro area.
“Jayme is my inspiration,” said Khalil, a junior who won the discus in last Saturday’s district meet. “He’s a senior, he decided to come out for the track team, and he really had made an impact on me and the rest of our teammates. They way he works, the love he has for the team, he’s a special team member.
“It’s guys like Jayme that make this the most special, the most tight-knit team I’ve ever been a part of.”
That statement carries even more weight when one considers that the Davis brothers were part of last year’s state championship Wildcat football team, which won its second state title in a row.
“I agree with Khalil,” added Carlos, who won the shot put last week on his final attempt. “There’s just something about this team that makes it special. A kid like Jayme is one of the most important people on the team because he does everything right.
“You can work as hard as he works, but you can’t outwork him. We love the guy.”
As they talk about Allen, he and his fellow runners are going through an extensive drill as coach Joe Cusack barks out the next step for them to follow.
His Wildcats anticipate sending most of their 17 competitors from Saturday’s Class 4 sectional meet on to state, where they are heavy favorites to win the first boys track and field title in school history.
“We have 17 entries in 14 events and only two of them are underdogs,” Cusack said. “Darrius Vaughn is No. 8 in the high jump, but if he has a good day he could win the thing.
“But we’re not going into sectional talking about winning. To me, finishing first, second, third or fourth – and advancing to state – is a win. Advancing equals winning in my book. That’s our only goal.”
When told about the Davis’ comments concerning Allen, a smile appears on Cusack’s face.
“Jayme is an outstanding young man who has made an amazing impact on this team, our coaches and on me,” Cusack said. “He’s so positive, and he never quits working. You know, this is his first year going out for track, and early on we saw him working out on his own on a Saturday.
“We had to tell him that his body needs rest, and that the workouts we have planned for him are good enough to get him ready. He understood – but come on, working out on your own on a Saturday? That’s all you need to know about Jayme Allen.”
Allen will likely not make any headlines Saturday. He is only competing in the 3,200 relay. But he will still have that impact on his teammates.
“That’s my event,” Allen said after the brisk workout. “I have one goal – to help this team make it to state. And I can best serve that goal by competing on the 4x800. I am surprised and pleased that my coaches and teammates think I’m making an impact.
“The last time I ran track was eighth grade. I don’t really know why I waited until my senior season to compete because Coach Cusack has been after me since I got to high school. I played football, and something about this year just seemed right.
“The guys saying I’m an inspiration to them? Well, they inspire me. What Carlos and Khalil and Stephen (Mugeche, please see Q&A on page B1) do every meet is amazing. We have so much depth and so much talent, I just can’t even imagine what my senior year would have been like if I hadn’t been a part of it.”
On the opposite spectrum from Allen is another senior, team captain Eli Leavell, a four-year member of the team who will compete in the 1,600 and 3,200 relays and triple jump.
“Eli is an amazing team leader,” Cusack said. “I named him captain a couple of weeks ago, because he is the captain. The guys look up to him, he’s been a part of the team all four years he’s been at Blue Springs High School and his work ethic is outstanding.”
Like Allen, Leavell is one of the Wildcats’ unsung heroes – the type of contributor you must have to win a state championship.
“We finished second last year when I was junior and we all want to win state so badly this year,” Leavell said. “Like Jayme, I’m a senior and it would be such a dream to win state. But now, we’re focusing on sectional and finishing in the top four to make it to state.
“I’ll start thinking more about state after this weekend. That’s when all our focus will be on the biggest goal the team has had this season.”