While the high school track and field season concluded last month, Santa Clarita Valley athletes are still putting in work during the summer to improve their craft.
Two athletes who are entering their senior year this fall, Tyler Cash of Canyon and Solomon Strader of West Ranch, are taking very little to no time off from the sport.
Instead of going on vacation like most students do during the summer, they are traveling across the country throughout the offseason to participate in competitive meets in order to get better.
“I am not going to take any time off training-wise, because other people are not taking any days off and I’m not taking any chances,” Cash said. “I will work hard this whole summer and do what it takes to be the best.”
“I took two days off and then I went right back to training,” Strader said. “We changed some things up the last couple of weeks and I just kept pushing through the fatigue of the season and the school year.”
This past Sunday, Cash added another accolade to his ever-growing trophy collection, finishing in first place in the boys high jump at the USA Track and Field Region 15 Junior Olympic Championships at Coronado High School in Henderson, Nevada.
His winning jump of 6-5 1/2 didn’t break the personal record he set at the CIF State Track and Field Championships last month, a mark of 6-10 that earned him second place in the state, but it was enough to claim the top spot in the event.
“It was pretty nice, I felt I could have done better but the track down there wasn’t too good, but I managed to change my run up from an eight step to a six step and it worked out well,” Cash said. “It was really fun competing against my buddy Kyle Jankans, who I competed against at state.”
Strader, coming off a third-place finish at the State Championships in the boys 400-meter with a time of 47.10, broke his state time and set a personal record at the Brooks PR Invitational at the University of Washington on Saturday, June 15.
His new PR of 46.59 earned him second place behind Emmanuel Bynum from Tennessee, who finished at 46.24. Strader’s time catapulted him to the No. 2 spot in California and the No. 11 spot in the entire country this year.
The West Ranch star, who broke the 47-second mark for the first time in his career, continues to improve day by day, setting himself up for a historic senior campaign.
“It was such a thrill to be able to break 47. I knew it could happen but with track, everyone peaks at different points in the season, and I usually run my best towards the end of the year,” Strader said. “We also used to live in Seattle and had some family and friends come out and support us so, to be able to run that time was one of the most memorable races in my career.”
Up next for Cash will be the Junior Olympics Nationals in Sacramento starting on July 22, where he will compete against the top high jumpers from around the nation.
“I definitely want to be the best but it doesn’t come overnight,” Cash said. “I put a lot of effort into this sport this past season and I don’t want to just sit on my butt so I get worse over the summer and let all that hard work I put in over the season go to waste.”
For Strader, he will start training for the indoor season next week where he will dabble with the 600-meter.
“I’ve taken a few weeks off, but we’ll start training again next week for the indoor season,” Strader said. “I’ll take another stab at the 600, which I enjoyed this year, but we’ll run it on an actual indoor track, so most likely I will again.”