Pali High Senior Track & Field Captain Kenny Davis Can Only Lament What Might Have Been
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
A little over one year ago Kenny Davis experienced the biggest thrill of his life when he helped the Palisades High boys track and field team win its first City Section championship by the narrowest margin possible.
This spring he and his teammates were hellbent on defending their varsity title and thought they had a great chance to do so. That is, until COVID-19 brought a premature end to the season.
“I would say the hardest part about seeing my last season cut short is knowing that we can’t go back-to-back at City finals,” the Dolphins’ senior captain said. “Also, not being able to run with all of my teammates for one last time really hurts.”
Davis clocked 41.64 seconds to take third in the 300-meter hurdles while teammate Nnamdi Onwaoze won in 40.26 in the City Finals meet last May at El Camino College. Davis leaped 22 feet, four inches for second in the long jump and ran the first leg of the Dolphins’ 4×400 relay, which took second place to clinch the team title by one-half point over Granada Hills.
“Being a part of Palisades’ first-ever City boys championship was truly amazing,” Davis recalled. “We all went into the meet that day knowing what we wanted to do and we achieved it. We lost some good assets to the boys team this year but we also gained some new ones and I strongly believe we would’ve gone back-to-back at City and gone to state.”
After winning City Palisades advanced to the state preliminaries (held at Buchanan High in Clovis), where Davis was 22 in the long jump and 24th in the 300 hurdles. Palisades was 21st in the 4×400 in 3:22.65 but didn’t qualify for the finals.
“Almost every track meet is a great memory but if I had to pick my top three I’d choose winning the City championship, state prelims because of the amazing experience I got jumping and running in front of so many people and my third favorite would probably be my first and last senior track invitational at Culver City. I recruited a new track runner (Liam Conrad) from soccer and we knew as a team that he’d be good because he won his race for us. Also, the vibe was really good thta day and all of us got a chance to run for one last time.”
Davis was second in the long jump and helped the 4×400 relay take third place at Culver City. To this day, long jump is his favorite individual event.
Davis was third in the 300 hurdles at the South Bay Invite and at the Western League finals he was fourth in the 300 hurdles, sixth in the 110 high hurdles and won the long jump at 20 feet, 7.5 inches.
“This year I was going to do long jump, the 400 meters and the 4×100 and 4×400 relays, for Pali,” he said. “The good thing is that I’ll get to continue my track career in college.”
Davis has committed to and will be attending the University of La Verne, some 50 miles east of Pacific Palisades, where he plans to compete in the long jump, hurdles and 400 meters. The Leopards are members of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) and compete at the NCAA Division III level.
“La Verne was a school that really welcomed me when I visited and I knew from the get-go it was going to be my home for the next four years,” said Davis, who jogs around the block to stay shape and works as a bagger and floor sweeper at Ralphs. A lifelong Inglewood resident, he gravitated to track as a freshman and has never looked back. At the time he never thought the sport would be as rewarding or fun as it has become for him.
“Actually I played baseball growing up but I quit around the seventh grade and didn’t play another sport until ninth grade when my friends and I thought track sounded fun, so we tried out, made it and it stuck. I went to Marquez Elementary, then to St. Matthew’s Parish School before Pali.”
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