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Canyon track and field's Devin Baldwin: Endless tenacity

Canyon’s Baldwin discovered he has a knack for the sport he recently joined

Posted: March 20, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 20, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Canyon senior Devin Baldwin was part of last season's Foothill League champion 4x400-meter relay team. Photo by Jonathan Pobre

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Every summer, Canyon’s boys varsity basketball team participates in offseason conditioning drills.

It’s fairly standard activities — sprinting and agility workouts.

But Canyon senior Devin Baldwin soon found out he was anything but a standard runner.

Canyon track and field head coach Paul Broneer, who is notorious for finding the best athletes on campus regardless of sport, noticed something special in Baldwin right away.

“He saw something in me that I didn’t even know was there,” Baldwin says.

Though he had played street basketball most of his life and spent three years with Canyon’s basketball program, Baldwin discovered his passion as a sprinter last spring during his junior year when track and field coaches convinced him to try out.

“He came out last year as junior, his first year running track, and he was an instant success,” Broneer says.

His first race was a 400 meter during a non-league meet, which he ran in close to 52 seconds.

“It wasn’t that good of a time,” Baldwin says.

But for a first-timer, it was good enough to turn some heads.

“When I first saw him, I didn’t think much,” says Joel Estrada, a fourth-year senior sprinter at Canyon, of Baldwin. “I just thought he was another fast guy. And then I saw his first race. Oh, it was a completely different story. He just blew everyone away — shocked everyone too.”

By season’s end, Baldwin was running the 200, 400 and a leg of both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays for the Cowboys.

He took part in a 4x400 team that won a Foothill League title and came up just short of qualifying for the CIF-Southern Section championship race in the event.

And in Baldwin’s favorite event, the 400, he cut his time down to 50.5 by the Foothill finals.

His goal this year is to break 50 seconds.

“Sub-50,” Baldwin says of his thoughts while running. “That’s all I think about.”

And even with his relatively limited experience in the sport, his coaches believe he’s capable of putting up CIF caliber numbers.

“I wish that he was out (for track) all four of his years,” says Canyon sprints coach Eric Johnson. “He’s a prototypical athlete. He’s built athletically. He’s fast, and more importantly, he likes to work. Everything that a coach could ask for.”

Growing up, Baldwin was always a natural athlete. He had self-described “eight-pack” abs and had toned arms as a little kid despite the fact that he never lifted weights until high school.

Because he played basketball a lot when he was younger, Baldwin gravitated toward the sport in high school.

As a varsity player for Canyon the past two seasons, Baldwin was used as a physical presence in the post.

It was the same type of attributes that made him such a quick study on the track — a 6-foot-1, 185-pound strong, quick and powerful athlete.

That, and Baldwin’s infectious personality, helped him ease into the track and field crowd seamlessly.

“I’m very family oriented. Me, as a person, I just love seeing my teammates doing what they do and going hard,” Baldwin says. “At the (meets) I’m very energetic, I’m very in your face. I’m just that guy that gets people pumped up and gets everybody ready to go.”

Baldwin isn’t afraid to show his excitement for the sports he plays, which is why height, weight and speed aren’t nearly as important as his relentless tenacity.

“More than anything it’s his determination that he has,” Johnson says. “He has a lot of fight in him. He never lets anyone take anything away from him.”



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