Canaday to continue cross country career at Concord

Feb. 14—Brandon Canaday took up running as a way to stay in shape for other sports.

He never stopped.

Canaday turned it into an accomplished cross country career, one that will continue next fall. The Woodrow Wilson senior signed his letter of intent to run at Concord University during a ceremony at the school auditorium Wednesday afternoon.

Canaday began running the summer before his sixth grade year at Park Middle School and logged a modest two miles.

"My coach told me I needed to run over the summer, so that was my idea of running over the summer," he said. "I did basketball and baseball at the time as well and I (ran) to get in shape for those two. Then I just kind of switched and would do basketball to get in shape for track.

"I went into (sixth grade) and ended up doing pretty well. My seventh grade year I ended up racking up two or three hundred miles and that's when I really got committed to it, and it's been that way ever since."

Canaday also runs track for the Flying Eagles, competing in the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meters, as well as the 4x400 and 4x800 relays. He may add the 3,200 to his resumé this spring.

Cross country has been a successful venture for Canaday. He left as a two-time Class AAA Region 3 champion and was part of three team regional champions.

It led to him landing a college opportunity, one he is happy to have at Concord. He will reunite with former Woodrow Wilson teammates Connor Cormack, Madison Cornett and Colette Lindley. Plus, the assistant coach is Andrew Barbera, the son of Woodrow Wilson head coach George Barbera.

"They're a great team. They've got a great organization with a great coach (Mikey Cox is the head coach)," Canaday said. "And I've got some (former) teammates that run there that have been kind of influencing me to go there. I've heard nothing but good things. So, to me, at the end of it it was kind of an easy decision."

Canaday chose Concord over Marshall, Davidson and UNC Wilmington.

He plans on majoring in either business or physical therapy, the latter of which would seem a fitting career path. Canaday has had to endure his share of injuries, including missing his entire sophomore cross country season with a major shin issue.

"I've always had a little bit of interest in the athletic training aspect of it, and on top of it, the injuries that I've had, I've done a lot of research on how to come back from those and how those parts of the body work," Canaday said. "So that kind of my interest in it a little."

Canaday is actually coming off shoulder surgery required after he injured it playing whiffle ball in school. Recovery seems to be going well with track practice starting a week from Monday.

"I think I'm ahead of schedule as far as recovery goes, but full recovery is not until May," he said. "I was about two months late getting back into full training than I normally would, and there's some moving restrictions that I have as well."

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