JAMESTOWN — BMX racer Cheyenne Davenport had a perfect nickname: “The Crash.”
“I used to wreck all the time,” the Greeneview Middle School eighth grader and member of Schooled U BMX said. “I was just getting too much speed and I didn’t know how to control it.”
But now they call her state champion.
Davenport, who turns 14 Oct. 21, finished first after the recently held Ohio State Championship Race Series in Akron, defeating a field of mostly boys in 13 Novice and a track on which she previously finished last.
She wasn’t the only one who came back to Greene County with some hardware. GMS seventh grader Nolan Brown was second in the 12 novice race, while fifth grader McKinna Elkins was second in the 10 novice. Elkins actually tied for first but was bumped down a place after a tiebreaker was applied. State places are based on points won during the race series.
Winning a state championship is quite a feat for any racer. But considering the three together have about 18 months of experience, it makes their trophy haul that much more impressive.
“Oh I was so happy,” said Davenport, who began racing around six months ago. “Nobody expected I would win because I was so new and had a history of wrecking. It was the happiest I’ve ever been. A lot of adrenaline. I had raced that track before and placed last.”
A total of 10 placed in the 13 Novice, and many were wiping their eyes — and not out of happiness.
“There were boys crying because I was first place,” Davenport said. “It was pretty great.”
Elkins, 10, has the most experience of the three, starting around eight months ago after watching a video her parents showed her.
“I used to love riding bikes all the time,” she said.
So after practicing just a few times, she entered a Gold Cup race and became very friendly with the dirt very quickly after coming down a hill.
“I was laying there on the ground crying my eyes out,” she said. Elkins was in second place when she tumbled and finished last.
But that only served as extra fuel in her fire to succeed.
“I wanted to (keep going) even though I wrecked and it hurt,” she said. “To me, this is one of my best sports I’ve ever done.”
She proved that at the nationals, held in Tennessee in May, finishing second despite some bad vibes in her stomach before the race.
“I about threw up there,” she said. “(But) I was pretty proud. Second is pretty good for me.”
Brown, 12, is actually the first of the trio to move up to the intermediate division after amassing 10 wins in about half a year. His father, Todd Brown, was a BMX racer as well.
“He inspired me to race,” Brown said. “I’ve always rode bikes my whole life.”
Despite his pedaling pedigree, Brown said he wasn’t too confident prior to the state race but knew exactly how to celebrate his impressive finish.
“I was happy,” he said. “I went straight to buy (more) bikes.”
Ironically, Brown said racing is secondary to hanging out with his fellow racers.
“I love being on the track, but friends are more important,” he said.
Davenport and Elkins said they hope to earn college scholarships for their racing ability. Brown has more long-term plans for his racing career.
“Until I’m dead,” he said when asked how far he wants to take racing.
According to Mike Hoover, the former team manager, all three possess remarkable skills.
“Cheyenne, she’s a born athlete,” he said. “(And) McKinna, she works hard. Nolan is a great kid. He did real well. It’s just in them.”
As a team, Greeneview also won the state title.
“They took the program seriously,” Hoover said. “I’ve got to give it up to them.”