Ready for the next hurdle: Bayside Academy grad, Alabama signee Patrick Daves on his future track career

BY COLE MCNANNA
Sports Editor
cole@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 6/30/22

Patrick Daves has his sights set on working for the railroad industry in logistics and supply chain management after his track career is over, but that's not coming immediately.

The recent Bayside …

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Ready for the next hurdle: Bayside Academy grad, Alabama signee Patrick Daves on his future track career

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Patrick Daves has his sights set on working for the railroad industry in logistics and supply chain management after his track career is over, but that's not coming immediately.

The recent Bayside Academy graduate added at least four more years of running hurdles when he signed with the University of Alabama in December and has hopes of even more.

Daves earned his high school diploma after he racked up 17 individual state championships and was on two teams that won a state championship in both indoor and outdoor track. He competed in numerous meets on the national stage where he achieved All-American status three times and won the USA Track and Field Youth Outdoor National Championship last summer.

He recently ran in two more national meets and garnered his third All-American honor, but only after he collected four more individual state championships in the 400-meter dash, 110- and 300-meter hurdles and high jump — and set the state meet record in the longer hurdle race — in a season that saw the Admirals sweep the boys' and girls' team titles.

Though he said he isn't a big flyer, Daves hopped on a plane to Seattle for the Brooks PR Invitational June 15 to compete in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Philadelphia that weekend.

"Competing in these big meets was an honor, especially getting invited to the Brooks PR because they look at you and want you there and consider you one of the fastest," Daves said. "It was fun also meeting some of the best athletes not just in the state but around the nation that have made big headlines and are going to continue making big headlines in the near future."

He said he was able to pick up some hurdle tips from both competition fields but mainly took advantage of getting to know the people behind the headlines.

"We learned from each other not just sports-wise but about our lives and what we do for fun, so it wasn't just always the athletic deal; we were ourselves," Daves said. "We learned stuff that nobody would learn because mainly when they make headlines you just see them constantly running; you don't hear about them being themselves, just being a teenager."

His next step up is big, but Daves said he feels having already competed on a national stage has prepared him for the college circuit.

"As much as it is about hard work, it really is your mindset going into it. I've been on a big stage many times; I know how it feels, and I know what to expect," he said. "Going into the national meets, I know what to expect, I know how to handle myself, which really helps. The only difference is the hurdle height goes up three inches."

While the Tuscaloosa campus was certainly high on his list, it was also the people there who led Daves to make the University of Alabama his next step.

"Location, also the people, mainly trying to figure out what family (to join), making sure it feels like family wherever I go. Samford and Indiana felt like home, too, but it was also location and not just who is on the team but the other people around," Daves said. "At Alabama, the people there really care and really strive to their word, and they put their word into practice. (Head) Coach (Dan) Waters and (Sprints) Coach (Blaine) Wiley, you could see the progression they've made under these people in the past, and it shows so I'm looking forward to being under their wing and hope to do great things."

At the college level, Daves already has a few goals in mind and maybe some more hurdles in his future.

"Try to make a national team; make all-SEC, all-conference in indoor and outdoor; and try to make nationals as well. It's going to be tough, but I think it's achievable," Daves said. "I do have Olympic visions, but I'll see where life takes me. If I just run in college, I just run in college. But I would still want to be active in the sport. The goal is to run professionally, but I know I can't run track forever so I do want to be involved with it afterwards."

While he is running track, he has a constant reminder of the biggest hurdle goal out there, the 110-meter world record, on his Instagram profile where his handle is @PatrickDaves12.80.

"It's been close the past couple years to being broken, so I might have to change it depending on what happens in the next months," Daves said. "It was set Sept. 7, 2012, in Belgium by Aries Merritt who I think is now retired, but it's just there for motivational purposes and to add a cool number in the name, but hopefully I can bring it down maybe one day."

Overlooking the Freedom Track and Field in Daphne, Daves reflected on his Bayside Academy journey that earned him a spot in Tuscaloosa.

"Going to miss the views. Going to miss being No. 1 in the state because it's all going to change from here; it's going to be a lot harder, but definitely going to miss all the good memories here," Daves said. "It's going to be different, especially going to a place that has a bigger facility and better equipment. This is where I started, but it got me there so it's going to be cool coming back and seeing where you started and where it's taken you."

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