By Kent Larsen
LDS Mission May Keep Athlete from Playing in Division I
WASHINGTON DC -- Serving an LDS mission has become common enough in NCAA
athletics that most LDS athletes will return from a mission to play on their
college team. But for LDS high school student Mark Davis, serving an LDS
mission probably means giving up the chance to play on an NCAA Division I
team ever. The source of Davis' difficulty isn't is ability, its the sport
Mark Davis is one of the best lacrosse players in the Washington DC area. He
started all four years that he attended Bullis High School and has become
the school's all-time leading scorer, recording 105 goals and 68 assists
through the first game of this, his final high school season. Even rival St.
Albans High School coach Malcom Lester says Davis is among the best
offensive players in the region.
But Davis and his coach, Mike DelGrande, can't get interest in him from
Division I schools, in part because he plans to leave this summer to serve
an LDS mission. Only one school, the Naval Academy, has actively recruited
him. "We recruited him, and he is a good player, " says Navy Coach Richie
Navy even has experience with returned missionaries, both in lacrosse and in
other areas. Current junior defenseman Phil Emery is on the lacrosse team
while Davis' cousin, J. C. Davis, has played two years for Navy and will
return to the team after he completes an LDS mission. Other Division I
lacrosse schools also have players that have served LDS missions, usually
after they played a year however.
But while Navy wanted Davis to come after his mission, they would require
Davis to take a year of coursework elsewhere before entering the academy.
Since Davis is already a year older than his high school teammates (an
injury forced him to repeat the fourth grade), Davis turned Navy down, not
wanting to be a 22-year-old plebe.
Out of options, Davis now plans to attend BYU following his mission and join
BYU's club team in lacrosse. "I always though I did not want to go to BYU,
that I wanted to go somewhere to play [Division I] lacrosse. I wish maybe I
had gotten more calls from coaches," he laments. Still Navy's Meade suggests
that Davis has reason to hope, "BYU has a great club team, they flew down
here and played our junior varsity team a couple of years ago. Maybe in two
years he would get some interest from colleges and could try again."
Meanwhile Davis, who hasn't yet received his call (he turns 19 in April), is
looking forward to serving a mission. "I am really looking forward to my
mission. Everyone tells me how awesome it is." He even understands that
missions are sometimes dangerous, "It can be dangerous. I know my brother
was robbed at knife-point when he was on his mission in Detroit. But I am
not worried about the danger. It is going to be awesome."
Davis' attitude and decision has found an admirer in Meade, "That this young
man would choose the difficult path, that he has those intangible qualities
in his character, it speaks volumes about who he is and who he will
eventually become. He made a tough decision, especially given the
environment i which most kids are brought up these days. He should be
A Road Less Traveled
Washington Post pgD07 27Mar01 S2
By Christian Swezey: Washington Post Staff Writer