Baseball great Tommy Lasorda once said the difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.
Cedar High School middle-distance runner Bryan Pearson is doing all he can to prove Lasorda’s point.
An injury that could have resulted in an exit from a promising career on the track, instead gave Pearson a reason to keep running — and he has run all the way into the southern Utah record books.
A second-place finish in the 800 meter run at the Arcadia Invitational in Arcadia, California last month landed him in the national rankings and a pair of region championships last week helped Pearson set school and region records in the 800 and the mile.
“I just want to find out how good I can be,” Pearson said. “Last year I had two stress fractures, so both my track and cross country seasons were cut short. I wanted to come out this season really strong and see what I was capable of.”
His time of 1 minute, 53.96 seconds in the 800 at Arcadia broke a school record by more than two seconds, while times of 4:20.56 in the mile and 1:55.37 in the 800 in last week’s region championships both set new bests in Region 9.
“Bryan is highly self motivated,” said his mother, Mary Pearson. “His self discipline got him where he is today.”
Pearson could have called it quits after last year’s injuries, but decided to push through and find other ways to keep himself ready to compete.
Since running would have put too much stress on his injured legs, he started swimming. Early mornings at the pool became the new norm.
He would log a mile in the water before most people were out of bed, then head off to school where he took AP classes and maintained a 4.0 grade point average.
The dedication paid off, and this year’s successes are the proof.
He’s also kept the GPA spotless, won the Sterling Scholar award for science and has earned a scholarship to Southern Utah University where he plans to compete in two years after serving an LDS mission.
Cedar track coach James Davidson called Pearson an inspiration to the team and said he’s a great example to the younger runners.
“These other guys see how well he does and can see that he’s bought in to what we’re telling him, and it lifts the other kids so much,” Davidson said. “He never complains, he just says, ‘OK coach, let’s go do it,’ and gets it done. The others are following him because of his successes.”
The strong will is just part of Pearson’s nature. It’s a strength his mother said has been there for as long as she can remember.
When Pearson was 10 years old, he faced one of the toughest decisions of his young life as his then 2-year-old brother needed a bone marrow transplant. He knew the procedure would be painful but Pearson fearlessly volunteered to be the donor.
His mother recounted the story, saying doctors took as much marrow as they could without causing Pearson any serious damage.
Remarkably, just five days later, Pearson competed in the annual Hershey Track Meet and took first place in his event.
He is a competitor, and though he is recognized for finishing ahead of others, he says the real contest comes from within.
“A lot of the time my biggest competition is myself,” Pearson said. “It’s really fulfilling.”