LONGMONT — James Davis knew he had a good thing.
So why tinker?
The assistant track coach at Skyline High School and coach of the Longmont-based CDm Elite team kept the Falcons' 4x100 relay team — Moses Rivera, Jack Wathen, Kyle West, Braden Kram — together for an impressive summer of competition that will see them compete next week in Lawrence, Kansas, at the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships at Rock Chalk Park.
"We are racing against all-star teams. I didn't go out there and cherry-pick from the greatest athletes in the state, I took our team from high school and said let's go out there and race all-star teams and show them what we have," said Davis, whose team finished sixth at state — less than .7 seconds from the top mind you — with a blistering time of 42.85 seconds. "They don't shy away at all, they go out there to compete and run hard every single race. They are not scared of anybody.
"I don't care what (anybody else) have done in the past, they have to beat us on that day."
Earlier this month in Mesa, Arizona, at the Region 10 qualifying meet, the CDm Elite team ran a 43.44 race that was good enough for a fourth-place finish and a spot in Kansas.
The foursome has had a busy summer — all but Kram, who graduated last spring, play football for the Falcons — and learning to balance the rigors of a demanding schedule is all part of the challenge for Davis.
"It's been a matter of just keeping them healthy. Trying to keep them fit and healthy has been a challenge, but that is the nature of the sport itself," Davis said. "Keeping that conditioning going and understanding the peaks and valleys of the training. Those guys are working hard, taking care of their bodies. It is not that we have gotten better, we've just sort of maintained and tried to maintain that relationship with the kids."
Performing on the biggest stages has not been a problem for the boys and competing against the unknown in Kansas won't be too overwhelming for them.
"Our whole goal has been to go to the biggest meets and put our best foot forward. Be it great exchanges, great speed, great starts and great finishes; you put in all that work to do that," said Davis, who is hoping to see his boys go sub 43 seconds and hopefully achieve a personal best mark. "I don't know how we are going to rank when we get out there — there are going to be some really fast teams — but I am just focusing on keeping our kids ready and go there and be ready to rock'n roll.
"They are only there for the relay. It would be nice to have other events they qualified for just to keep their mind off the relay. You are used to having three or four events, so it puts a lot of pressure on them to go there and really perform well."
CDm Elite will take seven athletes in all to Kansas. Skyline's Henry Carlson qualified in the javelin with a throw of 156 feet, 5 inches. J.J. Davis will also throw the javelin in the 11-12 age group and 9-year-old Miley Davis qualified in the high jump.