Canfield seated athlete winning on and off the track
Earlier this week, 21 News told you how Canfield and MCCTC Senior Cody Piver was gifted a new racing wheelchair for his last few track and field meets. Thursday, he got a chance to test it out, on Senior night.
"It's a mix of emotions because it's our last home meet, actually because seated athletes don't have a regionals or districts, it's my second to last meet before state so it is definitely extremely bittersweet," Piver said.
For Piver, it doesn't matter where he finishes after wheeling across the finish line. He's already proven to be a winner on and off the track.
"It's actually very important to get out there on the track to show the world that disabled competitors are the same as their normal abled body counterparts but more importantly than that, it gives them a sense of belonging to something more than just themselves," Piver said.
"The young man is just phenomenal, he's done everything he's supposed to done, plus more," said Dale Piver, Cody's dad.
Cody was born more than three months premature and diagnosed with Autism and Cerebral Palsey. He's been a fighter his entire life.
"We haven't seen another seated athlete this year he's been able to compete against so for him to compete against himself with his times and keep working hard and getting better and to do all of that while being in his chair and it doesn't hold him back. That is the thing about Cody he keeps working hard and doesn't let anything hold him back in terms of what he wants to do," said Canfield Track and Field Coach Nick Wagner.
"It's 18 years of hard work, I mean in my house we don't quit," Dale Piver said.
It's an attitude that has led Cody to becoming a Taekwondo National Champion, a wrestler and state qualifier in track and field for the past four years.
"He does everything we ask of him, works hard," said Wagner. "He's part of the team, works practices with us, he travels with us, he does everything we ask of him and more so for him to be able to compete at such a high level as he does and just keep working hard at every event he does, throws, sprints, distance, he'll wheel the 800 a day, just for him to be able to do all that is just remarkable and true testament of his hard work and work ethic."
On Thursday, a special round of applause for Piver during Senior night. Well deserved for a young man smashing barriers and serving as an inspiration for others with disabilities.
"Without it, I wouldn't be here to advocate for the disabled community in sports and outside of sports, more importantly," Piver said. "Ties back into being part of something bigger than yourself. Since I've started track, I have made a lot more friends than I could count really. It's very empowering to get out in the world and get to know people."
Cody studies at MCCTC and is learning networking and cybersecurity. He also competes for the speech and debate team and has a bright future in whatever he wants to do.