Lake Norman & Mooresville

Davidson teen finds his niche in crossfit competition

Davis Combs, a 17-year-old Davidson resident, qualified for the 2015 CrossFit Games, being held on July 21-23 in Carson, Calif.
Davis Combs, a 17-year-old Davidson resident, qualified for the 2015 CrossFit Games, being held on July 21-23 in Carson, Calif. JOE HABINA

Davis Combs hasn’t sworn off traditional sports, but with the fitness program known as CrossFit, he feels he’s found his niche.

The 17-year old Davidson resident, who also has played high school baseball and soccer, has become one of the top CrossFitting teens in the country.

On July 21-23, Combs will compete in the CrossFit Games, an international competition that bills itself as “the world’s premier test to find the fittest on earth.” Combs will be one of 10 people competing in the newly formed teen division.

The event will be held at the StubHub Center in Carson, Ca.lif, the home field of Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy.

“I want to keep getting bigger and better,” said Combs. “I love (CrossFit). It’s my sport.”

Combs is a rising senior at Cannon School in Concord. He played soccer for the Cougars as a freshman and sophomore. Last year, he was on Cannon’s baseball team, an extension of all of the travel baseball he played growing up.

The son of James and Lisa Combs, Davis tried CrossFit for the first time two years ago at the suggestion of his father. Davis says he was looking for something to keep him in shape after the end of the high school soccer season.

“I tried it, but it was hard,” Davis said. “I liked it because I could push myself and get getter. I was hooked after one time.”

CrossFit is the brand name of a program in which participants train in various elements of physical fitness including strength, plyometrics, calisthenics and gymnastics. The CrossFit website claims there are more than 11,000 gyms, or boxes, in the world.

Combs trains at CrossFit Eternal Davidson, mostly with owner and CrossFit Level I coach Nate Andreu. The primary CrossFit regimen involves the “workout of the day,” which is a varying set of exercises over a designated period of time.

The annual CrossFit worldwide competition begins in late winter with the Open, an invitation to participate in a set of five workouts over a five-week period. Participants’ efforts are measured by their trainers and submitted through the CrossFit Games website.

“A lot of people do the Open just for fun, just to see where they rank in the region” said Andreu, a 34-year old Concord resident. “It’s kind of humbling to see what the top athletes can do.”

Combs participated in the Open last year but his results were compared to others males ages 18-40. This year, the CrossFit Games initiated a teen division, broken down by boys and girls in age groups of 14-15 and 16-17.

In early April, Combs found out his scores ranked in the top 10 in his age group, which qualified him for the CrossFit Games. He was ranked ninth out of a pool of over 2,000 athletes.

Since the end of school, Combs has increased his training. He works out six days a week.

Combs, who is also a CrossFit Level I instructor, often trains with his brother Will, 15, and sister Katie, 14, who also are Cannon School students. Will, who plays travel baseball, started CrossFit about a year ago. Katie, a former gymnast, picked it up a couple months ago.

Since early April, Combs also has changed his diet by swearing off of sugars, grains and dairy products and has been following the Paleo diet, which concentrates on meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. In three months, the 5-foot, 6-inch Combs has dropped from 158 pounds to about 145.

Combs’ CrossFitting strengths are gymnastics movements (such as hand-stand push-ups), Olympic weightlifting and squats, which Andreu describes his ability as “off the charts.”

Combs knows he can improve in the endurance areas of swimming and long distance runs. Still, he feels he can win the CrossFit championship.

This fall, Combs is considering playing soccer at Cannon School again. Long-term, he plans on attending college and perhaps studying medicine.

Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at