Canary repeats as male McCoy Award winner

— by Michael Minnich, The Exponent Telegram

LOST CREEK, W.Va. — Now that the most difficult season of his high school career is going on eight months in the rearview mirror, Freddy Canary can be reflective.

“I couldn’t catch a break all season. I was just hurt from the start. Sickness, injuries. It was not the season that I wanted,” Canary, who battled blisters as well as problems with his ankle and back all year, said.

What Canary considers a disappointing season would be the year of a lifetime for just about anyone else: The South Harrison then-senior won his ninth, 10th and 11th individual state track championships last May at the Class A championships in Charleston.

Canary took the 100 meter dash in 10.99 seconds, nearly a half-second quicker than the second-place finisher, crossed the line in the 200 meter dash in 22 seconds flat and took the 400 meter dash in 49.01 seconds.

He set the state record in all three events as a junior.

He finished second in the long jump with a best of 21 feet, 7.75 inches.

“I’ll miss competing out here,” Canary said after the state meet. “It’s just time to go on to bigger and better things. God has blessed me with the work ethic. I can’t thank Him enough for that.”

And now he’s the repeat winner of the Ray McCoy Award as the male track athlete of the year in West Virginia, winning balloting by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

“It caught me off guard. Now that we’re out of season, I forgot all about it,” Canary said. “I was just like, ‘Wow, this is great.’”

Canary did it all from tiny South Harrison.

“A lot of people, they look at Single-A schools like we don’t have any talent. There is a lot of talent,” Canary said. “It’s a honor to be able to represent Single-A and win this award.”

The problems kept Canary from having the freshman year he wanted at West Virginia State.

“I had some track injuries that were still with me in football season,” Canary said.

So, now he’s back in (and on) track at Alderson Broaddus as a transfer.

“I kind of felt when I made my decision (to play football) that it felt wrong. I love football, but when I made my choice, everyone was like, ‘Why aren’t you doing track?’ I wanted to do what my gut told me to do, but I think track now is the better pick for me.”

Canary and other winners will be feted during the 73rd annual Victory Awards Dinner on May 5 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston.

The other top vote-getters are Winfield’s Aaron Withrow, Wheeling Park’s Ronnie Saunders and Nitro’s Luke Nichols.

Withrow won the Class AA 800 meter run and repeated as the 1600 and 3200 meter winner before also capturing another state cross country championship last fall.

Saunders, who has a rare blood disorder, took the Class AAA cross country title and was second in the 3200 meter run on the track.

Nichols leapt to his third Class AAA high jump title, clearing 6-8 at the state meet after hurdling 6-10 twice earlier in the year.

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