Carlynton cross country runner on comeback trail after hip surgery

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Sunday, October 11, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Upon the conclusion of his sophomore school year at Carlynton in June 2019, Desmond Corrado was planning to spend the summer running and preparing to be one of the top distance runners in the district.

But his plans to climb the WPIAL cross country ladder for his junior season went way off course.

“It was a pretty gradual injury,” Corrado said. “I noticed some pain in my groin area during the last two weeks of June before I had my breaking point on July 5 where I just couldn’t run on it anymore.”

At first, it was diagnosed as a strain. However, when treatment was not working, he went to his family doctor, who delivered the bad news.

“I got the diagnosis of a hip impingement,” Corrado said.

It was an injury that would require surgery to fix a torn labrum and reshape the hip socket, thus wiping out his junior season before it started.

“Having Desmond hurt last year was very upsetting,” Carlynton cross country coach Scott Kemmler said. “Expectations were high going into his junior year, and that came crashing down with the diagnosis.”

Those high expectations were warranted, with Corrado coming off an incredible sophomore season in which he finished eighth at the WPIAL finals and qualified for the PIAA cross country championships.

“Obviously, I was devastated, as running is a huge part of my life,” Corrado said. “I really couldn’t think of life without it. I had a lot of doubts as to whether I’d be the same runner as I was back when I was a sophomore, and, to be honest, I still do.”

The surgery took place in December and was successful. Doctors said if all went well in rehab, Corrado could resume running in May.

“I had no doubt in Desmond’s work ethic, but there was always concern about how the hip would respond,” Kemmler said. “He was only cleared for full running in May, so I hoped that would be enough time for him to get back 80% of his conditioning.”

Part of his rehab took place during a pandemic that hit the United States in March. Was he concerned that would set him back?

“Honestly, rehabbing, especially during the pandemic, was not that difficult as I was able to redistribute my desire to run into these new exercises,” Corrado said. “I kept myself motivated by watching old race videos to remind myself that I truly was a capable runner.”

As his senior year began, it was time for Corrado to test his comeback at the Red, White and Blue Cross-Country Classic in White Oak in late September.

Corrado’s first big race back was a success. He finished in 12th place with his second-best time at 18 minutes.

“I was pretty surprised at how I placed because I had yet to run in a race of that scale, and I was worried that my three months of training beforehand just wouldn’t stack up to many of the other competitors,” he said.

Added Kemmler: “I was pleasantly surprised with how well he ran since, prior to that race, he hadn’t been challenged. It gave us both confidence that he’s heading in the right direction and he’s not too far from 100%.”

One of the things Kemmler believes Corrado can improve on this month is his strong finish.

“Des’ strengths are his work ethic, and from a physical standpoint, his final kick,” Kemmler said. “So far, the kick hasn’t been what it once was, but, again, we aren’t trying to peak now. He has a deep-rooted hatred for losing, so when the big races come at the end of the year, he will be ready.”

Corrado has a few more races set for October before he returns to the White Oak course to run one of those “big” races, the 2020 WPIAL championships scheduled for Oct. 24.

“I thought White Oak was a great, fast course,” Corrado said. “I think the WPIALs will be especially fast running there.”

Although Corrado missed out on his junior season, Kemmler believes this Carlynton Cougar is ready to raise some eyebrows with a repeat of his sophomore season.

“I think Desmond will be a dark horse at the WPIALs,” Kemmler said. “He’ll be coming in a bit under the radar, and that may play into his favor. He hates being overlooked and, at times, runs with a chip on his shoulder. I feel Desmond has the potential to finish top 10 just as he did in 2018.”

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