Name: Solomon Strader
School: Valencia West Ranch
Sport: Track, 400 meters
Key stats: Won the Southern Section Division 1 400 meters in 2019; finished third in state. Personal best time of 46.59.
Fall plans: Will attend the University of Miami.
On being favored to win 2020 state championship before season was canceled:
“I wanted to win state. That was the big goal. It was tough not to have that senior year, but at the same time I know I’m in the lucky situation of being able to run in college the next four years. I know a lot of kids around the country are still looking for scholarships. It’s tough on them because they didn’t have a chance to prove themselves this year.”
On the grueling nature of the 400:
“It’s only a lap, but you can’t jog it, but also can’t go full speed. It’s essentially a fast job. It takes a lot out of you. Growing up, people used to call it a man’s race because it turns boys into men.”
How he’s spending his free time:
“If I’m not working on school, I’m usually playing video games or talking with my friends. I just got a book, ‘Fortune’s Fool: The life of John Wilkes Booth.’ I’m going to read that.”
What he misses most:
“The one thing I like about track isn’t necessarily running but being at meets, seeing familiar faces. Track is like a small family. Every time you go to a meet, there’s multiple people you’ve seen since first grade. Watching sports is part of my life. If I’m not watching track, I’m watching hockey, basketball, baseball, football.”
Where he sees himself in 10 years:
“I really like writing. Something in journalism or writing for a show. I like comedy. I like Conan [O’Brien]. I love storytelling.”
Video interviews of each athlete can be found at latimes.com/sports/highschool.