Brandon Cantrell is the fourth member of the men’s cross country program to be inducted into the Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame.
Cantrell was one of several local runners who comprised the then-USC Spartanburg men’s cross country team from 1998-2001. The leader of the group, he was a mainstay at the top of the results in nearly every race he ran. When he finished his career in 2001, he cemented his place in program history by being the first runner, and one of only two currently, to earn all-conference honors all four years in the program. He also had the privilege of running alongside his twin brother, Bradley.
Competing against nationally-ranked teams in the Peach Belt Conference, which featured older international runners, he helped lead the team to back-to-back third-place finishes in the Peach Belt Conference Championships his final two years in the program, finishing a career-best sixth as a senior in 2001. In all, he led the then-Rifles to four straight appearances in the NCAA Division II Regionals. The team finished fifth, three positions out of a trip to the NCAA Division II Nationals, in 2000 and fourth, two spots out of a trip to the NCAA Division II Nationals, in 2001.
Cantrell owns one of the top 8k times in the history of the program, turning in a career-best time of 26:05.49 at the 2001 Peach Belt Conference Championships. His 10k time of 33:49.16 also ranks among the all-time best in program history. He helped lead his teams to 11 team meet championships in his four years, while claiming four individual championships along the way.
In addition to his efforts and leadership in the program, Cantrell was a strong student in the classroom. He was a three-time member of the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Academic Honor Roll. He received the athletic department’s highest honor when he was named the Student-Athlete of the Year in 2001, an award that combines excellence in athletics, academics and community service.
Cantrell graduated from Upstate in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in History. He is currently working toward an associate’s degree in Radiographic Technology (medical imaging) at Spartanburg Community College. He earned the Dr. John S. Featherston Award for academic excellence last fall. In addition to his academic pursuits at SCC, he serves as an associate with FATZ Cafe.
Cantrell has stayed active in athletics, using his running background in his recreational life today. He runs and rides bikes for fitness, competing in organized trail runs and bike races throughout the year. He is also an avid fisherman and makes occasional trips to Wilmington, N.C., to fish with former head coach and longtime friend Kevin Bowden.
A native of nearby Boiling Springs, S.C., Cantrell was a standout runner at Boiling Springs High School. He was a two-time Spartanburg County champion in the 1600-meter race in track and was an all-area selection by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.