Jimmy Davis is a four-year varsity starter for Waubonsie Valley wrestling coach Brad Caldwell, who came up with a quick response when asked to describe his 138-pounder.
“He’s a scrapper,” Caldwell said.
Davis will leave Caldwell’s program as its all-time leader in career pins and he’ll finish in the top five all-time in career wins and career takedowns. He already holds the school mark for pins in a season with 25, which he accomplished his sophomore year.
Davis went 22-19 at 112 pounds as a freshman and finished one win away from sectional qualification. Back then, he hadn’t the vaguest notion how good he could be.
“I had no idea,” Davis said. “I excelled in kids’ club wrestling, but as a freshman wrestling against some ranked juniors and seniors, I didn’t know if I could ever get to that level.”
Davis went 35-13 in a sophomore season that saw him advance downstate at 132 pounds as an alternate, when one of the four state qualifiers from that year’s Class 3A Lincoln-Way Central Sectional couldn’t make the trip to Champaign.
“I was getting myself ready to wrestle at frosh-soph state when (Caldwell) told me I’d be going to the varsity state finals,” Davis said. “That’s probably my favorite memory of high school wrestling so far, getting to go downstate as a sophomore.”
Unfortunately, in his second match downstate, Davis landed hard and cracked his collarbone, ending his participation in the tournament. With his bone protruding, his parents were ready to rush him to the hospital.
Davis had other ideas.
“I wasn’t going anywhere. I wanted to watch the rest of the tournament,” Davis said. “I probably didn’t go to the doctor for like a week.”
Davis competed at an even higher level as a junior. He went 42-6 and again qualified to wrestle downstate, but lost his first match to eventual fifth-place finisher Johnny Gosinski of Glenbard North and was knocked out of the tournament.
“I went in there with a purpose. I thought I could place last year,” Davis said. “It just didn’t work out.”
At 25-2 and currently ranked sixth in Illinois at 132 pounds by Illinois Matmen, Davis will wrestle in college for either Wisconsin Stevens Point, North Central, or one of a few other programs he’s considering.
For now, Davis is still on the common path for most quality high school wrestlers, from being happy just to qualify to wrestle downstate as a sophomore to being bent on winning a medal as a senior.
And, first, he’ll have to get through the 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional to get there.
“I know our sectional is really tough,” Davis said. “Anyone getting out of that sectional has a good chance of placing downstate, and I’m ready to go.”
His coach isn’t about to underestimate him.
“I knew he was good coming in but in four years he has surpassed the expectations we even had for him,” Caldwell said. “He works hard, he’s a competitor, and he wants to get up on that podium in Champaign this year.”