Come Sunday morning, Dejan Davis expects to be glancing at his cell phone frequently to see what time it is.
Davis, a senior high jumper for IUPUI, will be on a bus returning from the Summit League track and field Championships in Fargo, North Dakota — 826 miles back to campus.
Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be a big deal.
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However, that same morning is when Davis, a former two-sport standout at Whiteland High School, is graduating — IUPUI’s commencement exercises are set to take place inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
“We are supposed to get back the morning of graduation,” Davis said. “I will be leaving straight from IUPUI to my house to change clothes and then head back.”
A frenzied schedule, but a most fitting conclusion to the college career of Davis, a member of the Daily Journal’s 2013 All-County basketball team and twice a state finalist in the high jump.
Over the past four years, Davis has worked to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology, competed in track since the end of his sophomore season, held down a job and become engaged to his girlfriend of five years, 2012 Whiteland alum Katie Magruder.
This season, he’s one of head coach Brandon Bangel’s paid assistant coaches at Whiteland after serving as a volunteer assistant during the 2016 season.
“Dejan is here almost every day,” Bangel said. “For me it’s a huge piece of mind knowing I can send my kids to him and knowing they’re coached right. He is actually a great coach. Dejan is extremely smart, and it’s a combination of his patience, knowledge and temperament. He’s very even-keeled.”
Davis chose not to participate in track as a freshman at IUPUI, which currently makes him a redshirt junior in terms of his college athletic eligibility, but he doesn’t anticipate a return to college track and field, in no small part because Davis and Magruder plan to be married July 14, 2018.
So far, his best high jumping accomplishment at the collegiate level took place at the 2015 Summit League Championships at Western Illinois University. Davis earned all-conference honors after tying for second with a best of 6-7.
Hindered by a groin injury sustained during a practice last season, Davis participated in only five outdoor meets.
“At the end of my sophomore year I jumped one meet, but it counted as a whole season. I have one more year of eligibility if I want it, but I plan on going somewhere else for graduate school,” Davis said. “I started off jumping really well, but last season I was injured.
“This school year I’ve put my academics and work (he’s employed by Apparatus, a global technology company in Indianapolis) ahead of athletics.”
With one more college meet — and two very long bus rides — ahead of him, maybe Davis can create a magic similar to the 2013 early-season dual meet against visiting Southport. A Whiteland senior at the time, he braved temperatures in the low 40s to somehow manage a school record jump of 6 feet, 10 inches.
And should he make it back in time to take part in IUPUI’s commencement, so much the better.
“Dejan is a great kid who never causes any problems and has fit in with the team,” said IUPUI assistant coach Evan Fruits, a 2006 Whiteland graduate. “Academically, he actually won the award for the highest GPA of any of the graduating athletes.”
Name: Dejan Davis
Family: Parents Walter and Vera; brother Lula, 13; fiancé Katie Magruder
High school: Whiteland (2013)
College: IUPUI (2017)
Major: Computer and information technology
Favorite place to high jump: Western Illinois University
Favorite athlete: Vince Carter
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles