Fittest of the CrossFit

Davis Combs makes a statement at The 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games

By Mike Savicki


Davis Combs isn’t like most athletes in CrossFit Eternal Davidson’s gym. At 17, he is one of the youngest regulars, he is undersized, and, having only been at it for two years, Combs is still new to many of the skills, exercises and workouts that many of the other members have been sweating through for much longer. That’s all according to his head coach and gym owner, Nate Andreu.


What also makes Combs stand out can be seen in his workouts. His intensity is off the charts, his motivation is second to none, he takes humble pride in “winning” almost every workout of the day (WOD), and he moves massive amounts of weight during each and every hour-long session, much more than even those who are bigger and stronger. That’s also from Andreu.


So it was no surprise that when Andreu bought CrossFit Eternal Davidson just over one year ago, and met Davis Combs for the first time, he took notice of the Davidson teen’s passion for the sport and saw potential for a strong future.


“Davis is a natural athlete, easy to coach, quick to pick things up, and a natural mover,” says Nate Andreu. “What you can’t train is the heart and the drive and Davis definitely has both of those things, too. Whereas with some other people, when it gets really hard, they back off, it’s the exact opposite with Davis.”


Road to the Games

Davis Combs first entered CrossFit at the suggestion of his father as a way to stay active between high school soccer and baseball seasons. He took to the sport very quickly not simply as a way to stay active, but as a way to attain higher levels of fitness. Simply put, Davis loved the challenge that came with each workout.


Steering him toward competition, says Andreu, just happened naturally.


“CrossFit has what we call a Worldwide Open where athletes complete five workouts, one each week, get the results validated, then submit them online,” Andreu explains. “With motivation and competitiveness alone driving him, Davis found his name this year near the top in his age group after the first couple weeks.”


Scoring high in the Open became a goal for Combs.


“I heard that teens wouldn’t be going to The Games, so I set a goal for myself of finishing in the top ten,” Davis Combs shares. “I’m ultra competitive and wanted to see my name at the top. That was it. Just the thought of finishing in the top ten in the world in anything seemed cool, so I pushed, not knowing where it would take me.”


As the third week of the Open ended, Andreu and Combs received word that some number of teens in Combs’ 16 and 17 year old boys division would be invited to the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games in Carson, California, so they doubled down on his workouts with the hope that he might advance. By the end of the fifth week, as the Open concluded, Combs was ranked ninth in the world.


It was then that they learned only the top ten would be invited to compete in July and he had made the cut.


During the next few months, CrossFit became Combs’ full-time job. He powered through two sessions a day, changed his diet and nutrition habits, added almost 15 pounds of muscle, and raised his skillset, with the full support and encouragement of his CrossFit Eternal athlete family, to a level he never thought possible.


“During those months, as I saw how the benefits of each and every workout I finished helped change me and made me fitter, I became so passionate about the sport,” he shares. “And in here, it was all support, too. The goal of CrossFit is to win the workout of the day, so people pushed me pretty hard, but they were are all supportive. When it was time to go to the Games, I wasn’t nervous, I was as ready as I could be.”


Competing at the CrossFit Games left Combs with a host of memories.


“Let’s see, well, I went out too hard in the first event and burned out,” Combs recalls. “The saying in CrossFit is ‘redlined’, and I finished last. I could have thrown in the towel after the first day.


“But one of my strengths is a short memory – I can do well or poorly on something then put it behind me and refocus – so that’s what I did after the first event. I kept my head up and kept going,” he adds. “By the end of the competition, I had more than recovered and was happy with where I finished.”


A CrossFit Ambassador

With the 2015 Games now in his rearview, Combs has begun his senior year at Cannon as a member of the varsity soccer team. Having also received his Level 1 certification, and currently working through the CrossFit Coaching Academy, David Combs sees himself staying with the sport for the long term. And he hopes one day to return to Carson and compete in the adult men’s category.


“Excelling at CrossFit, like anything else, is a goal that requires you to work hard and really focus,” Combs explains. “And like other goals, it is something you can attain. If my workouts motivate those around me to do better themselves, and maybe step it up to a higher level, then I’ll be glad for them and I’ll keep working and pushing myself, too.


Working with others and pushing them, even those who are older than me, is what I love to do. It’s so fun to help someone figure something out then get better and stronger.”


The Scoop

Davis Combs finished third in two of the seven events on his way to an eighth place finish in the 16 and 17 year-old teen age boys division at The 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games. If you are up for a challenge, give these workouts a try:

  • The SQT – 3 rounds of 10 snatches at 95 lbs. followed by a 200 meter sprint. (Davis scored 88 points and finished in 3:39.21.)
  • The Long Chipper – 1,000 meter run followed by 25 dead ball over-the-shoulders, 25 box jump overs, 25 chest to bar pull-ups, 50 wall balls, 25 chest to bar pull-ups, 25 box jump overs, then 25 sandbag over-the-shoulders all in a14 minute time limit. (Davis scored 88 points and got to within 15 sandbags of the time limit.)


This article was originally published in Currents Magazine in 2015.