He started his college track and field career from scratch, but Witt native David Martin ended as a two-time national champion.
The Greenville University decathlete won National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship in the event, not once, but twice, winning the national title in the decathlon as a junior and a senior. While that would be an amazing feat for any athlete, for an athlete that did not start competing in track and field until he walked on to the Panther track team it’s even more impressive.
“It was tough to win the national title the first time, but it was tougher to defend it,” said the First Baptist Christian Academy graduate, “I think there was a ton more competition my senior year. During my senior season, it was pretty much neck and neck until the second day of competition. It is never easy to win the national championship, but my senior year seemed a little bit harder.”
At First Baptist Christian Academy in Rosemond, he was a member of the basketball team. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound athlete led his small high school team in rebounds as well as shooting percentage every year of high school. He also led his team in scoring three of the four years he was on the team.
He was encouraged to give the decathlon a try by Tom Broomfield, a Greenville assistant track coach.
“He told me that I could be a decathlete as well,” Martin recalled of his conversation with Coach Broomfield. “I initially did not know what to do with that information. He kept after me and I talked to Coach (Brian) Patton and got permission to try out, but I had to master the hurdle race first. I started with the hurdles and the rest is history. I enjoyed my career and will never forget hanging out with my friends and doing what we loved.”
Martin flourished in two events on the track and two events in the field. His best time in the 110 meter hurdles was 15.64 seconds. Other than the short track sprinting event in the hurdles, he would also break 50 seconds in the 400-meter dash, posting a career best time of 49.78. He would also excel in the field in the discus and the pole vault. He posted respective career bests of 39.70 meters in the discus and 4.20 meters in the pole vault.
“Of the events in the decathlon, I liked the discus best of all,” said Martin. “I love rotation and releasing it and it just feels natural to me. But, for some reason, I seemed to do better in some events when I was competing individually and not as part of the decathlon. On, the track, I loved the 1,600-meter relay. It is just intense and if the meet is close, it really matters. That makes your adrenaline pump.”
As a senior, he was selected as the Most Valuable Player for the track team. He was also selected as the SLIAC Men’s Field Athlete of the Week during the season.
The son of Jay and Becki Martin of Witt, Martin earned bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and Spanish. He also has a minor in forensics. In the classroom, he was on the Greenville University dean’s list every semester as he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.9 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. He currently works at Holy Family Hospital in Greenville, where he is a registrar in the emergency room.
“First Baptist Christian Academy really prepared me for writing in college,” said Martin. “It was a very small school, but there were so many advantages to going to school there and being on the basketball team. I learned so much about school and life. I was also able to play on the same basketball team as my younger brother and that was really great. The toughest thing for me about track and field was the conditioning. Also, time management takes on a whole new meaning. There are many puzzle pieces to competing in college. Time management becomes not only important for your academic and track career, but also for your health.”