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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Worth the wait: Mead sprinter Dominick Corley rebounds from injury to become one state’s fastest

Mead senior Dominick Corley, who signed with USC for track, hopes to defend his State 3A title in the 200 and add to his impressive resume.  (COLIN MULVANY)

Mead senior Dominick Corley chose to continue his athletic career at Southern California for a simple but impressive reason – Corley believes USC can get him to his dream of being an Olympian.

USC is a school that produces Olympians in many sports, especially in track and field. That was appealing to Corley, who is one of the top sprinters in the state.

His path to where he is today almost never got started. During his COVID-altered freshman year, Corley ripped the labrum from his right hip socket during a winter practice in the snow in February.

“The doctor said it was probably a three- or four-year lingering injury,” Corley said. “I couldn’t walk without pain.”

He had surgery to reattach the labrum to his pelvis.

Corley hasn’t played football since. He turned out for track and field as a sophomore – but he initially stayed away from the track, concentrating on discus and javelin.

“He had pretty good technique in discus,” Mead coach James Lehr said.

But it wasn’t Corley’s calling. Sprinting was in his genes – his father, Ivan Corley, who is principal at Lewis and Clark, was a sprinter at Eastern Washington.

Encouraged by his father halfway through his sophomore season, Dominick jumped into a 100-meter race with no warmup or practice base. His time wasn’t anything to boast about at 11.89 seconds, but the most important thing was he felt no pain.

“I had shin splints because I wasn’t in running shape at all,” the 5-foot-10 Corley said. “The hip was fine, that was the main concern. So, I just built off of that and got my body in shape.

“My dad told me to go run and here we are.”

Corley ran the 100 seven more times that season, but he never cracked 11 seconds. Yet, he was hopeful.

Following the season, he began training for his first indoor season in late summer. It gave him a jump-start on his junior outdoor season.

It turned out to be the breakout season for which he was hoping. He broke school records in the 100 and 200. He continues to lower them.

He knew he needed to make more strides this past winter. At the national Spokane High School Invitational meet at the Podium on Jan. 24, he ran 6.64 in the 60. Phone calls came immediately.

Coaches from USC, Oregon, Ohio State and Arizona State – to name just a few – wanted to talk to him.

“The coach from USC said he wanted to see me run 20.8 (in the 200) and 10.3 (in the 100). But when he saw 6.64, he had seen enough,” Corley said.

He flew to Los Angeles to visit USC in late February. He committed soon thereafter and signed his National Letter of Intent this week.

“This indoor season really put me on the (national) map,” Corley said.

His visit to USC was everything he hoped for and more.

“Compared to all my other visit experiences, nothing was even close to USC,” Corley said. “The campus is so lively. It’s condensed, so you can get from corner to corner in 10 minutes. The people are down to earth. It feels like home. I just really fit in and it’s L.A., it’s warm. I don’t have to worry about the cold anymore.”

Corley, who carries a 3.85 grade-point average, wants to study entrepreneurship and real estate and get into USC’s Marshall School of Business.

“The way I see it is what I do now will impact the rest of my life,” Corley said. “I’m going to try my hardest to set myself up early while I’m young so I can live the life that I want to live. I want to try to retire pretty young. That’s the ultimate goal.”

His maturity is seen in his priorities. He isn’t allowing anything to distract him. He doesn’t have a girlfriend.

“It’s family, friends, homework, track – in that order,” Corley said.

Corley laughs when he thinks about what he considered doing as a freshman.

“I was going to quit sports and try to become a body builder,” he said.

It’s apparent he took a better path.

Corley had a wake-up call in the classroom second semester of his junior year. His GPA dipped to 3.1 – a respectable standard to many but not to him or his family. He admits he got distracted with his indoor season.

“I realized that if I want to do this sport in college, I’m going to have to balance school and sports,” he said.

He’s carried a 4.0 this year.

Corley started this season where he left off a year ago. He ran a personal-best 21.05 in the 200 in his first meet March 23. At the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in Los Angeles on April 6, he did 10.39 in the 100. Both are career bests.

“You can tell that his work ethic is paying off for him,” Lehr said. “He’s one of those kids that has a vision and knows what he wants to go get. He studies and tries to do the things he needs to do to get better. He understands what it takes to get better. He’s been fun to watch grow. It’s incredible to see where he’s at given that injury.”

Corley has set lofty season goals this spring. He wants to do 10.1 in the 100 and 20.4 in the 200.

He is out to defend a state title in the 200. He could have won the 100 last year, but he false started at district. His season best was .46 better than the state winning time.

Corley broke a sprinting cardinal sin when he false started. He was focusing on running a personal best instead of execution.

“It was pretty bad,” Corley said. “I was inconsistent in handling big moments.”

Corley is excited for what’s ahead not only this season but in years to come.

“I’m still young in the sport,” he said.

Corley was scheduled to run at the Pasco Invitational last Saturday, but he pulled up in a 100 preliminary.

“I suffered a mild strain in my left hip flexor,” he said. “It is possible that it is related to my (right) hip surgery. I could be imbalanced.”

Out of precaution, he’s skipping the Oregon Relays on Saturday. He is taking a week off and doing physical therapy.

“He’s not done yet,” Lehr said. “At the next level, he’s going to continue to take off because he’s the type of kid who is so motivated to be great. He pays such good attention to his body and to injury prevention.”

“I was just built to be a sprinter,” Corley said. “It just took me a while to figure it out.”

It’s been worth the wait.