Trials and tribulations have defined the last 12-plus months for just about everybody.

There's a silver lining, though. Some have been able to use the obstacles and challenges to come out the other side sharper and stronger.

Lompoc's Sheldon Canley Jr., a football and track standout, has spent the past year to make himself a better athlete.

Canley was nearly unstoppable on the football field during the Braves' shortened spring season earlier this year, which consisted of four games. He rushed for 512 yards and eight touchdowns, nearly averaging 10 yards a carry and 130 yards a game. He caught 10 passes for 143 yards and another touchdown.

Now, during the track season, Canley has, yet again, taken his game up a notch. On Saturday, at the Channel League Finals, the Lompoc junior won the 100-meter dash in 10.73 seconds, a major personal best. His time is the 18th-best mark in the state this season, according to DyeStat. 

Though Canley's future lies on the football field — he racked up five Division I offers before his junior season — Canley still has a drive to win on the track.

"There's always goals, even for track," Canley said when asked if he uses track as a training method or if he's just as competitive on the starting blocks. "I need to beat my PR. It's always goals in anything you do, but at the same time I use track to get better in football."

During his four-game football season, where the Braves went unbeaten and finished 5-0 including the Cabrillo game cancellation, Canley was able to develop in a number of different ways.

"We started off trying to get as many plays in as we could," Canley said. "Then we really came together. We had a lot of young guys and a lot of returners. It was a young class and we did a lot better than I thought we would, honestly."

Canley added, "You had to have a lot of motivation to come through it, because it's been hard on everybody. You need a lot of motivation and a lot of people standing up leading the team. That's what we did."

As a sophomore at Lompoc, Canley rushed for 808 yards on 83 carries with 14 touchdowns. That year, Canley was a speedy back that could run past people and surprise defenders with his physicality. In the spring season, Canley's physicality matched his speed, showing an ability to run through tackles and past defenders. 

He bulked up and it's evident Canley hasn't taken much time off over the last 12 months.

"Since the end of the 2019 season, my work didn't stop," he said. "I didn't stop working because we didn't know when the season would start up. I kept working. It's constant work and it paid off."

Canley received four Mountain West Conference offers after his sophomore season, with San Jose State, his dad's alma mater, Colorado State, Nevada and San Diego State offering him scholarships. William & Mary, an FCS school, was the first to offer the Brave.

Canley says those five schools are the main ones targeting him. He also has a favorite.

"It's the same five schools. No one new reached out yet," he said. "I'm looking at San Diego. They showed more interest in me than other schools, so I'm looking toward them. Nothing new... so far."

Canley says he plans on finishing out the track season and then may get into some 7-on-7 over the summer.

"I'll keep training for football. That's the main thing,' he said.

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