Track All-Area: Damien’s Thaddeus Smith and Walnut’s Kayla Richardson take top honors, Coach Doc Williams named Coach of the Year and senior Robert Prata named to the first team.

Consistency is usually the key to success in athletes, and it proved to be the key ingredient for Damien’s Thaddeus Smith and Walnut’s Kayla Richardson, who proved to be the area’s best.
For their efforts, Smith and Richardson are the Tribune Boys and Girls Track Athletes of the Year.
Smith, a junior, was the area’s top sprinter. He placed in Division 3 in the 100 and 200 at the CIF-Southern Sectoin finals and qualified for the CIF-SS Masters in the 200. At the divisional meet, he was sixth with a time of 10.77 seconds before taking third in the 200 at 21.36. At the Masters Meet, he was ninth at 21.94.
“Overall, I was pretty happy about the season,” Smith said. “My goal was to make it to Masters, so I did that. I broke the school record for the 200, so it was a pretty successful season. I wanted to make it to state, but it didn’t happen. I’ll just have to try next year.”
Richardson, a sophomore, was also the area’s top sprinter, placing in Division 1 in the 100 and part of Walnut’s 4×100 relay team, which was the area’s only representative at the CIF State championships near Fresno.
Richardson was ninth in the 100 in Division 1 at CIF-SS finals with a time of 12.35, which was best in the area. She helped Walnut to a fourth-place finish in the 4×100 with a time of 46.83. The Mustangs were sixth at Masters with a time of 47.01. They were sixth in their heat at the state championships and didn’t advance to the event final.
She also scored four first-place medals at the Hacienda League finals, winning the 100 and 200 and helping the 400 and 1,600 relay teams to wins.
“I wasn’t really satisfied with my year,” Richardson said. “I didn’t drop my time as much as I wanted to. But I was glad I was able to experience the state meet and would like to be back there next year.”

Williams guided the Spartans to a top 20 finish in Division 3 at the CIF-SS finals.
The Spartans placed five in the finals, led by Smith’s efforts in the 100 and 200. Others were freshman Zachary Shinnick, who was ninth in the 400 (51.36); junior Kaodilichi Nwuda, who was eighth in the 110 hurdles (15.61), and senor Robert Prata, who was seventh in the long jump (21-6 1/4).

Prata led off area efforts among field athletes at the CIF-SS championships. He placed seventh in Division 3 in the long jump with a mark of 21 feet, 6 1/4 inches. Prata also was a double winner at the Sierra League finals, winning the long jump (22-1/2) and high jump (6-0).