By Daisy Grant
/ Published August 10, 2018
2nd Lt. Markez Davis, 72nd Force Support Squadron, and 2nd Lt. Anna Cherry, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, met at the Air Force Academy. Davis told Cherry about the All-Air Force Sports trials camps and encouraged her to try out. Now they are both competing at All-Air Force Sports trials camps.
During his second year at the Air Force Academy, a torn ligament in his knee left 2nd Lt. Markez Davis out of commission for the season and the football career he desired.
In January of his senior year, however, he began to play rugby at the school, and quickly found a new passion in it.
Now, graduated from the academy and stationed at Tinker Air Force Base as an interim military personnel flight chief in the 72nd Force Support Squadron, Davis is one of 16 players slated for the All-Air Force rugby trials camp.
Coincidentally, 2nd Lt. Anna Cherry is stationed at Tinker AFB as a program manager for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, is also competing in the All-Air Force Sports trials, but in softball. The two have been a couple for the past four years. Cherry and Davis strike a great balance of performing their primary duties and pursuing a goal of competing in Air Force Sports trials.
Twelve rugby players will be selected after a trial camp that starts Aug. 13 to represent the Air Force in the All-Armed Forces Sports rugby competition August 24-26, where they will compete against the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines’ rugby teams.
Cherry is at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, where she is practicing with the already selected softball team of 14 players. The All-Armed Forces Sports softball competition is Aug. 15-17 in Pensacola, Florida.
Davis said rugby’s similarity to football drew him to it, and he was contacted out of college by the All-Air Force coach to try out for the team.
“My college coach said ‘I think if you work on this, you could have a chance to train for the Olympics for this with the Air Force,’ so that really lit a fire under me,” Davis said.
Cherry met Davis at the academy. She has played softball throughout her life, including playing on a club team in college.
Davis told her about the opportunity with the All-Air Force trials camps, encouraging her to try out as well.
“He knew I was still obsessive over softball, I wasn’t ready to hang up my cleats yet. I was just feening to get back and play in that competitive environment again,” Cherry said.
Months before applying, the couple worked out together six days a week for their respective sports.
Stephano Simmons, a personal trainer at the Gerrity Gym on base, worked closely with Davis, creating a personalized plan involving two to three days of full-body workouts and two to three days of sprints, agility drills and similar activities each week.
Over the time they worked together, Simmons said he watched Davis grow in his endurance and abilities.
Eventually Davis received a list of some workouts that would happen at the trials, which the pair incorporated into their routine.
“I was very excited that I was able to help him, that he allowed me to help him in that journey and that he chose me to be his trainer,” Simmons said.
While they could not help each other much with their respective sports, Davis and Cherry suggested conditioning workouts for each other.
Cherry said Davis spent hours throwing or hitting a softball to her so she could practice.
“Two months before I actually got accepted, we were out on the field every day throwing and catching, and he would even try to hit to me. He wasn’t the best at hitting balls, but he eventually got them out to me,” Cherry said.
The ability to train together and push each other was beneficial, allowing them to feed off each other’s energy, Davis said.
“I can’t let her get a day ahead of me on working out. We help each other. She’s at the gym, quite honestly, more than I am,” Davis said.
Cherry said their shared competitive nature and love for working out compliments each other.
“I’m just really appreciative that the way our relationship works and how our drive works, we’re able to accomplish these things and we understand each other and we know the right way to push each other to the next level to be ready,” Cherry said.
If Davis performs well enough at the All-Air Force Sports competition, he can be chosen to further compete in the World Class Athlete Program, a program where military members are selected to train to possibly represent the U.S. in the Olympics.
If selected, Davis will relocate to the rugby Olympic Training Center in San Diego, where he will train for the 2020 Olympics.
The WCAP program does not include softball, however, Cherry aspires to be selected for the All Armed Forces Softball team.
Cherry said the process of preparing for the trials helped her realize the support she has at Tinker AFB. Without close family nearby, others came together to help her train.
“The amount of support that I had going into prepping for San Antonio just meant the world to me. It made me feel like I had a family at Tinker, even though they’re not my immediate family, it felt like a family that was there, cheering me on along the way,” Cherry said.