TORRANCE – As a freshman, Trinity Classical Academy’s Solomon Strader was slightly awestruck in the track and field postseason.
This year, as a sophomore, he was determined.
“Freshman year I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Strader. “I was kind of new to everything and I knew I wanted to make it here, but I didn’t really think I could make it to state. This year (I was) a lot more confident.”
A focused Strader secured a spot at the CIF state meet in the 200- and 400-meter races at the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet at El Camino College on Saturday.
He came in second in the 400, clocking 47.49 seconds. Murrieta Mesa’s Matthew Okonkwo edged him for first place with a time of 47.47.
In the 200, he came in sixth at 22.06.
Strader said that being familiar with the track after running in the CIF-Southern Section finals a week prior helped him prepare for the Masters Meet events.
“The lane assignments don’t matter as much because you kind of run all around,” he said. “And you’re used to the crowd, kind of used to how the wind moves and if you do well on a track once, you usually do well on the same track again.”
Last season, Strader succeeded in making the state meet in the 400, but not the 200. He’ll be dialing in strengthening his first 100 meters ahead of the state meet, which will be held at Buchanan High School in Clovis on Friday and Saturday.
“If I want to be able to get Top 3 in state, I’m going to have to get out pretty fast,” he said.
Strader was the only athlete from Trinity at the Masters Meet. Although he’s the lone Knight left in track, he couldn’t help but give the baseball team, which will be playing in the CIF-SS Division 7 semifinals on Tuesday, a shout-out.
“This year we have our baseball team that’s doing pretty well too, so it’s nice to have two teams doing well,” Strader said. “It still feels pretty good to be able to go back and represent our school.”