Branching out: Freshman Aydin Davis of West Forsyth has parlayed his talents on the soccer field to being one of the school’s top track-and-field athletes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 6, 2024

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By Jay Spivey

For the Clemmons Courier

CLEMMONS — Aydin Davis may have just finished his freshman season on the West Forsyth boys track-and-field team, but don’t let that fool you.  

He’s already proven himself to be one of the best runners on the team even though he didn’t even pick up the sport until recently. 

“I really started in seventh-grade because I just wanted to try a new sport,” he said. “I’ve been doing soccer for like the last 12 years of my life. So, you know, I just wanted to try something new.” 

Davis picked up track and field while a student at Clemmons Middle School. 

“One of the coaches there, Ms. Howard, she really recommended me because she, my parents had been like friends up to then. And again, it was just a new thing. And from the soccer field I’ve always been one of the best guys out there, so I just thought, ‘Why not?’” 

Coach Nathan Newsome, who is the cross-country, indoor track-and-field, and outdoor track-and-field coach at West Forsyth, is always on the lookout for the next wave of talent.  

“I was at a middle-school meet and I knew they had like a really good 200-, 400-meter runner,” Newsome said. “But a lot of times, those are football kids, and a lot of times they just kind of never make it to me. And then I was walking in the hall during the fall, late in the fall when I saw Coach (Doug) Eury and he said something about, you know, he said, ‘Aydin Davis.’ 

“And I said, ‘Yeah, he’s coming out for indoor track.’ And he said, ‘He is fast.’ And then he said I saw him play soccer.” 

Despite his new love for track and field, Davis still hasn’t given up his first love of soccer. He played last fall for the Titans’ JV team. Davis said he picked up soccer at about 5 years old, and now, his 11-year-old sister, Kassidy, is playing soccer. She’ll be a seventh-grader this fall at Clemmons Middle School. 

“I intend to play soccer next year, but with how track is going I may just make that my main sport,” he said.  

Davis didn’t initially go out for track and field because of his commitment to driver’s ed, which is fairly common for freshman athletes in high school. Davis eventually landed his way on the track at Jerry Peoples Stadium on the campus of West Forsyth. Newsome quickly made a prediction about Davis. 

“That he’ll be the be the fastest sprinter we’ve got because he’s only a ninth-grader and he’s already really, really fast,” Newsome said. “But ninth-graders tend to be quiet anyway. And he’s a very polite, well-spoken, articulate kid, but he’s quiet.” 

Although quiet, Davis cracked his shell, so to speak, once indoor track-and-field approached late last fall and winter.  

“You know, he looked great in practice and then we had our first indoor meet. We’d done time trials, and he was fast and he, I thought he was really going to blow it out here,” Newsome said. “We had our first indoor meet and I think he was on two relays 4×2(00-meter), 4×4(00) — and I may have him like in an open 300. And he came to me right before the 4×200 and said, ‘I pulled both my quads (quadriceps).’ Or something like that. And I was like, ‘Huh?’” 

Davis quickly recovered and steadily improved throughout the indoor season.  

“Honestly, indoor was a great warmup for outdoor because unlike outdoor there are curves are short or the curve is shorter, so you the run is different, but it’s still the same amount of effort,” he said. “So, that was cool for me because even though it was cold and everything you still have a goal that you’re trying to reach. And you want to be there by outdoor season.”  

And don’t forget he had just completed his JV soccer season as a right wing for the Titans, and according to him, he was a goal scorer. 

“That’s what I was predominantly was there for because with the speed that I’ve had at that point, like just being able to zip down the field in quick moments to be able to move the play quicker where it’s my best attribute, I feel like.” 

As the indoor track-and-field season progressed throughout the winter, it was an educational experience for Davis. 

“In indoor, honestly it was like a wake-up call because in middle-school at that point I was like one of the top runners in the county,” he said. “Getting into high school you’re running against seniors and like all grades. So, it’s kind of like you have to show up and show out because it’s so many different levels, so many different times you’re going against. So, it’s like no holding back to be honest.” 

Stepping up a level gave him a new-found confidence. 

“But also, that kind of gave me a new level of competition and it’s honestly just really motivation,” Davis said.  

As a freshman, and freshmen are naturally timid, Davis sought the advice of someone who was experienced in giving advice to young athletes – Newsome.  

“Just go out there and run,” Davis said of what Newsome told him. “There’s no use in being nervous because it doesn’t help at the end of the day. Just go out there and run because you’ve done this in practice, you’ve practiced the reps, you’ve practiced the form. Now, all you’ve got to do is show what you’ve learned.” 

The advice worked because Davis became a sponge for what Newsome was telling him. One of those thing was dealing with pain as a runner. Davis had told Newsome that the last 100 meters of a 400-meter race are the toughest, but he actually liked the pain. 

“He said it helps him warm up,” Newsome said. “Physiologically, there’s no way that it can benefit you, but if you think, if you’re not afraid of it there are prudent times that we can have you do it.  

“But I think the indoor season got him pretty ready for outdoor.” 

According to, Davis best time in the indoor 300 was 38.72 at the Raider Invitational and his best time in the indoor 500 was 1:15.20 at the Weddington Invitational. In the indoor 4×200 relay, teaming with Gabriel Akpan, Sean Davis and Decobe Pettus, their best time was 1:35.03 at the Fast Track High School Invitational. And in the 4×400 relay, teaming with Dylan Williamson, Max Leonard and Jonah LeGrande, their best time was 3:39.42 at the Mondo Elite High School Invitational. 

Those indoor results, even though he didn’t qualify in for the NCHSAA Class 4-A Indoor championship at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem as an individual or as member of a relay team, the results helped Davis prepare for the just-completed outdoor track-and-field season. 

“By design, those kids that run the 300, you know, it gets them ready for the 200. The kids that run the 500 it gets them ready to run the 400,” Newsome said. “So, you know, if you run what you’re supposed to run, following that recipe so to speak, then it tends to yield pretty good results. And I think in his situation it did.” 

As the outdoor season progressed Davis adjusted to nuances of different distances and the ways the track was different compared to in indoor. 

In the Central Piedmont 4-A championship, held on April 30 at Davie County, according to, Davis ran 50.71 in the 400 after, according to him, he recorded a 53.40 at the beginning of the outdoor season.  

“I’m pretty content with it,” Davis said. “Being a freshman, even though I didn’t get the school record I still got really, really close to it. I’ve got three more years to work on this.” 

Although he didn’t qualify for the NCHSAA Class 4-A outdoor track-and-field championships held earlier in May at N.C. A&T in Greensboro, he fared quite well at the NCHSAA Class 4-A Midwest Regional at Davie County just the week before the state championship. Just a freshman, he finished 12th in the regional in the 400-meter run at 52.46. The winner of that race was Waxhaw Cuthbertson’s Amari Barrow, who finished 48.34.  

“Unfortunately, at regionals I ran a 52(.46),” Davis said. “It was honestly an anxiety thing. I just, my entire way I usually run, my routine up til then got thrown off because the anxiety pretty much got to me.” 

The gravity of the moment appears to have gotten to him. 

“Mostly because the guys that I had been running with, first off it was like my first time getting (in) a regional,” Davis said. “I’d never really been there before so it was like a whole new experience. And then, the guys I was running with were all running 49s (seconds) and I’m running the 50s. And I just felt like there was a whole bunch of pressure just to run that one time.” 

He was initially down on himself.  

“But after I stepped off the track my teammates, they helped out a lot,” Davis said. “They were supportive.” 

That anxiety could possibly subside this summer for Davis.  

“I think he’s our fastest kid from 100 meters to 400 meters,” Newsome said. “And especially as time moves on, I think that will become more evident.” 

According to Newsome said that Davis told him that he just recently ran a PR in the 200 as an unattached runner at a Saturday meet. Davis is also running the relay in the adidas Track Nationals, and Davis is competing individually in the Freshman Nationals in the 400, both held June 14-16 at N.C. A&T. 

“He’s one that it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s a state-champion-caliber kid by the time he’s a junior or senior,” Newsome said. “You just don’t know. You’ve just got to see. You’ve got to see how they progress, and can they stay healthy.” 

The sky’s the limit for the potential of an athlete like Davis. He wants to set the school record in the 400, which according to him is 49.9, and since his PR is 50.71, that could be easily attainable. 

“Honestly, I’m not trying to brag or be braggadocios or anything, but I want to hold the record for the next three years,” he said. “That’s my goal.”