Super Senior: Pete Davis

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 6:02 PM EDT
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BARTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Just off the track at Lake Region Union High School, there’s a dedication honoring Pete Davis’ past -- “Founder - Builder - Coach. 1971- 1997.”

“I wouldn’t be a coach here if Mr. Davis didn’t teach me,” said Travis Terrell, the school’s track and field co-coach.

“He coached my mother in gymnastics when she came here,” said Marina Rockwell, a former student-athlete.

Davis, though, is still very much alive. “I really don’t have a title anymore. If I show up, I show up,” Davis said.

Arriving at the school in 1969 as a physical education teacher, he never left his very own field of dreams. “When we built the track, I made sure there was enough room to have six lanes,” Davis said.

The Windsor native says he couldn’t play high school baseball to save his life, but he excelled in track and field. Davis brought his talents to Lake Region where he coached track for decades.

A while back, Coach Terrell had an idea to bring together three schools -- Richford, Lyndon Institute, and Lake Region -- for the first-ever Pete Davis Invitational that was held last week. “This is our first meet we had in 20-plus years here,” Terrell said.

The current athletes on the team weren’t even alive the last time schools competed at Lake Region -- the track doesn’t have a rubber surface that most official state events require.

But with the sound of a starting gun, the track that Davis built came alive for the invitational. Davis, now 80, focuses on the shot put and sharing memories with athletes past and present.

“We would literally throw into the snow and he would come outside in the middle of winter to help us figure how to throw,” said Marina Rockwell with the class of ‘22.

“We only lost one shot put this winter,” said Sylvia Brownlow, a junior on the team.

“I guess my main focus is -- I’m a technique guy,” Davis said. “I like taking people from the beginning up through...”

“It’s amazing. He puts in so many hours of work unrecognized. He’s not on the payroll, he’s not... it’s just his life,” Terrell said.

A life still on track, where the finish line is in the distance.