May 2017 – The year began with Solomon Strader bursting on to the Santa Clarita Valley track scene by breaking the meet record for the Frosh/ Soph 100 meter run at 11.20 at the Santa Clarita Valley Invitational. What made everyone take notice was that his time was 3/10th’s of a second faster than the winner of the varsity race. He ran in the Frosh/ Soph category in order to support his younger team mates. In the 4×400 meter relay, he led the team of Dillon Bixler, Shane Lintereur, and Hunter Romine, to a 3rd place finish, beating out Hart and Canyon.
On March 11th, he ran against stiff competition at the Simi Valley Invitational. with 100 meters to go, he was in third place, he turned on the jets and finished first in 48.80, which placed him in the top 10 times in California at that time. This also made him an automatic qualifier at the Arcadia Invitational.
At the Malibu Invitational, he competed against a very strong field of seniors and won the 100 and 200 in personal record times.
He stepped into league competition and dominated every time he ran. One of the most memorable races was the 4×400 relay in the 3rd Liberty League Meet. We fielded a team made up of 4 freshmen: Dillon Bixler, Hunter Romine, Erik Anderson, and Solomon Strader. The top team in the league, Pacifica Christian, was made up of 3 Seniors and a Junior. Dillon led off with a personal record, and handed the baton to Hunter in 5th place. Hunter closed the gap running a strong leg and handed off to Erik still in 5th place. Erik began to close the gap and with 150 meters left, sprinted past two runners to give the baton to Solomon in third place, 50 meters behind the leaders. Solomon hammered the first 100 and the atmosphere became charged as the crowd and all of he athletes watching ran to the edge of the track. Solomon caught the leader with 175 meters left. The runner from Pacifica never saw him coming, Solomon passed him on the right and gained a 2 meter advantage going into the home stretch. Both runners strained as the teams cheered them on. In the end, Solomon held on to win. He was joined by Erik, Dillon and Hunter as the rest of the team surrounded them . He made sure everyone knew it was not just him, it was a team effort!
His big test came on April 8th at the Arcadia Invitational. This meet is generally considered to be the most elite high school track meet in the nation with athletes coming from all over the country. Solomon qualified in the 400 and 200. He ran the 200 during the “Open Session” and set a personal record of 22.17. He was originally scheduled to run the 400 during the “Open Session” however the meet organizers moved him into the night session and placed him in the “Seeded Heat” which is run immediately prior to the Invitational Heat which has top-rated athletes. Solomon was placed in lane 1, which is given to the lowest rated athlete in the race. Solomon, the only freshman in either heat, proved them wrong. He stayed with the field and turned on the afterburners with 200 meters to go. he crossed the line in second, barely edged out by the winner. His time was 48.25, which made him the fastest freshman 400 meter runner in the state and the 3rd fastest freshman 400 meter runner in the country.
Friday night he runs at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet. If he places in the top 6, or runs under 48.2, he will advance to the State Meet on June 2nd in Clovis. Friday’s meet is at Arcadia High School, he is again in lane 1, and is the only freshman… a familiar place for him to be. He is poised to once again prove the field wrong! If he keeps this trajectory, it is very possible for him to compete in the Olympics during his senior year.
Submitted By Varsity Track Coach Brian Bixler