MURFREESBORO – Completing the fourth and final chapter of an unbelievable decathlon book, Ben Davies ran one for the ages.
The Brentwood Academy senior became the first athlete in Tennessee history to win four straight boys decathlon events, with this one rating as the most improbable. Davies has competed most of the spring while battling a pulled hamstring.
But he fought through pain, adversity and some stiff competition in the meet which would up Tuesday on the MTSU track. He scored 6,589 points, far from his personal best, but far ahead of Father Ryan senior Kevin Carney, who was runner-up at 5,863.
“Right before the region decathlon, I considered not competing (because of the injury) all the way up until the day before the meet started,’’ Davies. “I did a lot of soul-searching and praying, and I finally decided to go for it.’’
In order not to aggravate the injury, Davies did something he hated to do – he had to pull back from his tip-top effort in some events, particularly the hurdles, which is a high-risk venture for someone with his type injury.
He won four events – the shot, disc, 400 and pole vault.
Asked if this was the most satisfying of the four, Davies thought for moment, and said, “I think, yeah, physically it had to be. As a sophomore when I cleared no height (for zero points in that event) and won anyway was pretty special.’’
Davies, who has signed with Florida, then looked ahead. “My good friend Michael Ayers (at Tennessee) finished third in the SEC decathlon, and I’m looking forward to some good competition with him.’’
Carney won his specialty, the high jump, at 6-6. Even though he finished well ahead of Davies in the final event, the 1500, he was too far behind to close the gap much.
“I just had too many sub-par events,’’ Carney said. “I kept shooting myself in the foot, and I was pretty nervous the first day (Monday). But I came back some and even had a personal best in the shot. I gave it all I had in the 1500, it just wasn’t enough.’’
MBA’s E.J. Vinsang finished in a tie for seventh.
Davies’ sister Philipa won the girls pentathlon twice (2003-04), meaning that for six straight years, a member of the Davies family won the events. Competition should beware – their younger brother Josh finished in ninth place.
Class AAA: Brentwood High sophomore Kevin Lazas finished a close second to Campbell County’s Corey Carrington, who won the Class AAA decathlon with 6,375 points to 6,273 for Lazas.
“I’ve fought through some injuries much of the spring, I’ve had a groin injury for four weeks, so second place is pretty good,’’ Lazas said. “But I had a good meet. He (Carrington) was too good in the 1500. But I’m coming back and going try to win this next year.’’
Ravenwood’s Bo Gilroy was third, and Brentwood senior Dillon Seigenthaler, son of coach Ronnie Seigenthaler, was sixth.
Class A/AA: A strong finish in the 1500 wasn’t quite enough for Page High junior Les Gilbert, who finished second to Orlandus Harris of Chattanooga Brainerd. Harris had 5,896, ahead of Gilbert (5,744). FRA senior Chase Turpin placed fifth with 5,163.
Baseball: T.J. Hoelzer fired a three-hit shutout and struck out nine, sparking David Lipscomb (31-7) to a 7-0 romp over Ripley in the Mustangs’ opener of the Class AA state baseball tournament at Blackman High.
After John Osborne and Kyle Lehning scored on wild pitches, Osborne broke the game open with a two-run double to left-center in he fifth.
“I settled in some and located the strikc zone after I had the early control problems,’’ said Hoelzer (6-2). “With the hitters we have, it makes it easy on the pitchers with the runs they score for us.’’
“We were able to make some things happen,’’ said coach Ernie Smith, whose team stole four bases. “Usually T.J. pitches in relief, but we need him to start today. This was a really good start to the tournament.’’
Ravenwood outscored Arlington 8-6 in its opener in AAA.
Tennis: Donelson Christian Academy’s season came to an end with a 4-0 loss to Knox Catholic in the Class A/AA boys tournament. Defending state singles champ Michael Yokusuk won the first set vs. Steven Young at No. 1 singles, but the other four lost in straight sets, including senior Matt Comp, who has fought back injuries for over a year.
“I made up my mind I was coming back, but it was hard to fight through all the pain,’’ said Comp, who is headed to Carson-Newman. “But my glory days are over, but I hated that I wasn’t able to play my best.’’
“Matt, who is a five-year letterman, is part of the success this program has had, making four state tourneys in five years. I’m really proud of all them,’’ said coach Pressley Ramsey, whose team ended 17-2.
Yokusuk goes for two straight singles titles when individuals open Thursday.
Ezell-Harding lost to Chattanooga Christian in A/AA girls, with ace Melynda Simmons the only Eagle player to win a set. In AAA boys, Siegel edged Brentwood High 4-3, winning the decisive point at No. 2 doubles. In AAA girls, Science Hill blanked Ravenwood 4-0.
USN won both boys and girls semifinal matches as the Tigers advanced to the finals today in the DII-A tournaments.
Softball: Devon Schmidt fired a four-hit shutout as five-time defending champ Goodpasture rolled to an 8-0 romp over Chester County in Class AA.