By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

When soccer didn’t work out for Grand Haven’s Tanner Davis, he began considering other options in the world of sports.

Tanner Davis

With the help of his mom, Lauren Mattone, Davis looked into several different sports before settling on water polo and becoming a triathlete.

So off to triathlon class he went.

That’s right … triathlon class at Grand Haven High School taught by physical education teacher and fellow triathlete Derek Warner.

“A couple friends told me about triathlon training class,” said Davis, 16, and a senior-to-be at Grand Haven. “I thought it might be fun.”

On Mondays and Wednesdays, the group ran 2-6 miles. Tuesday  was biking and Thursday was swimming. Friday’s class, in the gymnasium, is called an ‘insanity workout.”

This year’s class, the third annual, had 60 students enrolled. The class, in danger of not getting off the ground three years ago, is now full. Davis said he would take the class again in the Spring.

Davis and his classmates trained five days a week in their first-hour class then entered the Sea Horse Challenge in Kalamazoo back in May. The event included a 500-meter swim, 12.4-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run.

For many, it was their first attempt at a triathlon.

Tanner Davis competes in the running portion of the Grand Rapids Triathlon

“He really trained them well,” Mattone said of Warner.

Davis finished 17th in his age group in his first triathlon. His time was 1:24:15.

In June, it was off to the Grand Rapids Triathlon, where Davis had to swim 100 more yards, but trimmed 1:28 off his total time and finished in 1:22:47. He finished 10th in his age group.

Davis said the running leg is the toughest of the three disciplines.

“Running after doing all that other stuff,” Davis said. “My legs are really tired after I bike.”

Next up for Davis is a Ludington triathlon next month that is actually a relay. Fellow Bucs Trey Jennings (1,500-meter swim) and Austin Bessinger (24-mile bike ride) will team up with Davis, who will run 6.2 miles

And what lies down the road for Davis?

“An Ironman is on my ‘bucket list,’” said Davis. An Ironman is a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and then running a marathon (26.2 miles).