Standing on the podium at the conclusion of the CIF state track and field finals on Saturday, Trinity Classical Academy runner Solomon Strader heard more than just the applause of his parents.
“They called my name and I would think my parents would be cheering for me, but where my parents sat there was a crowd of people that was cheering, too,” Strader said. “To get sixth place in front of that crowd was pretty nice.”
The freshman earned sixth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.76 seconds. That surpassed his previous personal record of 48.08, which he set the day before at the state prelims.
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“Running wise, it felt natural, it felt normal running the 47,” he said. “I wasn’t stressed or worried. There was nothing to lose. … Everything is on the table, and I was a lot more relaxed and that led to running a better time.”
Natalie Ramirez of West Ranch came in ninth in girls shot put with a throw of 40 feet, 8.75 inches. The sophomore qualified for the finals after throwing 41-07.25 in prelims on Friday.
“I didn’t get the marks that I wanted to, but I’m so excited that I made it to the final nine,” she said. “It was more than I could’ve imagined doing in shot put, and that’s what I came there to do.”
As an underclassman, Ramirez found the experience at the state level invaluable.
“Being in competition with upperclassmen at that level, I feel like we (underclassmen) have the upper hand because we know what it’s like,” she said, “so when we’re upperclassmen, we can be more ready.”
Canyon High junior Gabby Sanchez came in 11th in the girls discus event, throwing 134-01.
“I think my warm ups were getting me in the zone,” she said, “and I was thinking I was really prepared for this, but sometimes things don’t go your way, which is totally OK, but I’ll learn from this experience.”
Sanchez is a dual-sport athlete, competing in both track and field and girls basketball. The Cowboys basketball team reached the CIF state playoffs this past March.
Balancing both sports is tough but rewarding for Sanchez. Basketball season flows right into track season with little to no break.
“I think I will dedicate more time (to throwing) considering the fact that after I left basketball, I came directly to track so it didn’t give me a lot of time to train what I wanted to train for,” she said.
“I’ve been working so hard toward being in CIF (in throwing) and everything and I feel that it’d be another great experience and a proud moment for me to have to get there again.”