Glen Ellen’s Ed Davis wears many hats as a business owner, a musician and a writer, among other things. But he’s also got another talent – he’s a discus thrower.
He’s a pretty good discus thrower to boot. Good enough to qualify in his age group for the National Senior Games which will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, next June. And currently, he’s ranked sixth in the US in his age group, and 15th in the world.
The 66-year-old Davis competes in the 65-69-year-old age bracket.
The Sebastopol native was a discus thrower back in high school (Analy High School) some 50 years ago. And he held the discus record at the school for a number of years.
He didn’t throw again after he graduated from Analy. But about two-and-a-half years ago, he picked the discus up again.
“I worked out in the gym and I ran – but I wanted to do more than run,” he said.
When he picked up the discus again, he said it all came back immediately.
But there was still something missing.
“I didn’t have any coaching in high school,” he said. “It was all self taught. I watched the kids from other schools throw.”
He started studying videos on line to work on the technique he never learned. “My trainer at the gym suggested I call Sonoma State to see if they had somebody,” he said.
Sonoma State indeed had a person, John Sisseck, who coaches the shot putters and discus throwers.
“Throwing the discus is complicated,” he said. “Things have to happen quickly. But it seems like it came naturally to me.”
When Davis met Sisseck, they started from scratch.
“We went back to fundamental drills,” he said. “It was like going back to school.”
Davis trains with Sisseck once a week working on his skills. He trains a second day a week on his own practicing what he’s learned.
He admits that at 66, he can’t throw nearly as much or as often as he could when he was in high school.
“I do 100 throws a week split into the two practice sessions,” he said.
The discus he’s throwing is lighter than what he threw in high school. In high school, he used a 2.8kg (about 6.2 pounds) discus while as a senior participant, he’s throwing a 2kg. (about 4.4 pounds) discus.
In his first seniors meet, Davis’ best throw was in the 121-foot range.
“My best in high school was 157 feet,” he said. “My best so far as a master was 141 feet – or about 42 meters.”
Back when Davis was in high school, track and field events were measured in feet instead of meters.
Davis’ best throw in practice is 45 meters.
But his chances depend on who else qualifies for the national games.
“You never know who’s going to come out of the woodwork,” he said. While a lot of the competitors know each other, they never know who will take up throwing again and qualify. It’s not like high school or college where you know who’s ranked ahead of you.
Davis took second place in the USATF Outdoor Masters Championship in Spokane, Washington, in July with a throw of 42.22 meters and won a qualifying meet in Pasadena.