While other hurdlers were concentrating on their footwork during the race, Brannon Farrow was trying to keep his arm from falling apart.
That wasn’t the case a year ago, thanks to an incident just five days before Cambridge’s regional meet, when the two-sport athlete played in a basketball tournament with his select traveling team in Houston.
Farrow was hospitalized after suffering a compound fracture in his wrist and a concussion. He spent 11 hours in surgery.
“The pain was excruciating,” Farrow said. “I knew I was going to do whatever it took to run, because I had a really good chance to win state.”
He admits nobody really believed him, because the injury was too severe and the turnaround time was too short.
“There was no way we were going to find a doctor who would sign off on this, let alone whether it was wise,” said Ashley Kelly, Cambridge head track and field coach. “But eventually, he got his way.”
Farrow showed up at the regional meet with a hard cast, barely able to move one arm. The rules forced him to compete with bubble wrap around the cast.
“I was still on painkillers, which helped, in a way,” said Farrow, who had to begin the race with a standing start since he was unable to position himself in the starting block.
He finished third in both hurdle races at regionals, which was good enough to quality for the state meet in Waco a week later. He gradually intensified his training, and learned to use his other hand for the three-point starting stance.
After a false start almost disqualified him, Farrow won the 110 hurdles and finished second in the 400. This year, he’s aiming for two gold medals. And he doesn’t have any basketball tournaments to get in his way.
“Spring was tough. I had to juggle school and piano and all these other things. I know how to manage my time really well,” Farrow said. “It taught me a lot about myself and how I deal with adversity.”
At 6 feet, 4 inches, Farrow’s top sport always has been basketball. The Park Cities resident was a member of Cambridge’s TAPPS title team in 2015 as a freshman, and has been the team’s leading scorer during each of the past three years.
He started competing on the track in seventh grade as a distance runner. He hated sprinting, but performed well in the 4×400 relay, which sparked a change of heart.
“Now I can’t imagine running for long periods of time,” said Farrow, who didn’t begin hurdling regularly until his junior year. “It’s the complete opposite.”
Kelly said Farrow’s accomplishments last spring were a testament to his work ethic, resilience, and determination.
“He has a certain level of excellence and will not accept anything beneath it,” Kelly said. “He’s probably one of the most organized kids I know. It just speaks to his character.”