No matter what kind of ribbons he takes home tonight, Shaw Cloud has already won.
A senior sprinter for Whiteland’s 19th-ranked boys track and field team, Cloud has fully recovered from a severe leg fracture that threatened his athletic career.
He sustained the injury during the football season and had surgery on his left leg on Sept. 5. He missed the rest of the football season and was a question mark for track.
But Shaw is back, better than ever, and looks to lead the host Warriors to the team championship at the Mid-State Conference Meet.
He will compete in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and run the first leg of the Warriors’ 4×400-meter relay, with teammates Jacob Walters, Brandon Patterson and Djimmon Ogega.
“This has been spectacular,” said Cloud, who has come back after breaking the tibia and fibula in his left leg during a Week 3 football game against Decatur Central. “I never imagined this.”
Cloud is enjoying the best track season of his high school career when for a time it appeared he might not run at all.
A running back for the Warriors football team, Cloud was carrying the ball early in the third quarter when a Hawks’ defender tripped him up.
He knew immediately his leg was broken.
Surgery to repair the leg was performed seven hours after the injury.
Eight months removed from surgery, Cloud is finding gears he never knew he had.
“This has definitely been my best track season. I’ve PR’d (personal record) in the 400 and in the 100,” he said. “I’m running pretty much a half-second faster than I was in the 100 last year. I had no idea that was going to happen.
“I think actually breaking my leg, then having a rod put in there . . . then the rehab and building up my quad and my hamstring actually helped me. It all worked out.”
At the county meet, Cloud placed third in the 100, fourth in the 400 and was part of the Warriors’ runner-up 4×400.
Ranked in the top five academically in the senior class, Cloud maintains a 4.39 grade-point average and will play football in the fall at Hillsdale College, an NCAA Division II school in Michigan.
The same dedication that makes Cloud a good student is what has helped him through not one, but three injury comebacks.
As a sophomore, he broke his right fibula in two places during the football season. The following year he suffered a bruise to the top of his right foot during football.
Nothing has stopped him.
“I am absolutely amazed at the progress he’s made. When he broke his leg in September I didn’t think he was going to be able to run at all,” Warriors coach Brandon Bangel said. “But his 100-meter personal best is better than it’s ever been.
“He went 11.37 at the county and looks better than he’s ever looked. I don’t know why or how, but it’s a pretty amazing story.”
THE CLOUD FILE
Name: Shaw Cloud
Family: Parents, Todd and Mary; brother, Grant, 15
Favorite TV show: “Impractical Jokers”
Favorite food: Scallops
Favorite movie: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”
Favorite athlete: Peyton Manning
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts