Senior Spotlight: Indiana runner has eye on nationals, career at Pitt

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Thursday, May 14, 2020 | 12:33 PM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

The WPIAL track and field championships would have been held Thursday at Slippery Rock University.

Indiana senior Kendall Branan doesn’t need a reminder; he knows the date of when every big meet was scheduled.

Instead of attempting to win another WPIAL Class AAA 800-meter title, Branan has been busy cutting grass. Since beginning with one yard five years ago, Branan now does 15 a week.

“It helps me keep busy during the quarantine,” Branan said of the coronavirus pandemic that forced the PIAA to shut down the spring track and field season. “I still workout because I’m planning to go to high school nationals in July.”

Branan is motivated by a fall in the preliminaries of last year’s PIAA championship meet, which prevented him from making the final heat.

“I was leading with about 110 meters left, and I don’t know if someone bumped me or what, but I lost my balance and tripped on the metal bar along the track,” Branan said. “I really wanted a redo.”

Branan is now focused on staying safe and getting ready to run at Pitt next year.

Why did you select Pitt?

One of the main reasons is the coach (Alonzo Webb). He’s a nice guy who wants to build the program. I loved the facilities, and I’m excited to get started.

What races would have run this spring?

My main race is the 800. I would have also run the 400, 1,600 and the 1,600-meter relay.

Why do you like the 800 so much?

The 400 is a speed race, and I feel there is more strategy involved in running the 800. You have two laps and more time to make moves.

How did it feel to win the indoor state title?

It was my most memorable moment in high school. To win the state title and to run a personal record of 1:52 was amazing. My coach felt I would have broken 1:50 this spring; that’s why I was really looking forward to the outdoor season.

What do you miss the most about this spring?

I had a lot of goals set that I can’t achieve now. I wanted to break the meet records at Latrobe, Altoona, Butler and the WPIALs.

What has the coronavirus pandemic taught you?

That you still must move forward. I’m making it, I’m fine. You have to continue to move forward.

What are you doing to prepare for high school nationals in July?

I train when I can, either on my own or with a friend. I’m just trying to stay sharp. It also helps me stay focused for college.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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