Coach CB Richards says team building brings out the best in the student-athlete. Photo courtesy Coach CB Richards

The South Pasadena High School track & field program is on a roll, so to speak. The roll is that it keeps racking up victory upon victory.

They whipped Temple City (TC) in league competition last week and were primed to take on La Canada in a dual meet on Thursday.

“As we start the league meets this Thursday at home against Temple City, the team is looking very primed for another good season,” CB Richards, head coach of the track & field program at So Pas High School, said in an email to The Review before the TC victory on March 14. “We are a very young squad but the team has put up some great marks in the distance events this past Saturday and Friday night at Redondo with multiple personal records set by individuals and the relays coming together to build team bonding.”

Richards points to unity as a developing asset that is making his squad even stronger than first anticipated.

“At Simi Valley, the team showed their ability as frosh-soph and varsity came together to run on Varsity A and B Teams and compete against some of the Valley’s best,” Richards said. “Beginning of the season is a little rough for training, as the bodies are sore and legs are tired, but as we start to move towards the middle of the season and begin our dual meets in league, we will start to feel our legs get underneath us and start to have multiple personal records set individually as well as in relays and team scores.”

Richards was referring to the Sim Valley Invitation that was held the weekend of March 8 and the Redondo Nike Invitational before that. Both meets pitted So Pas against tough competition throughout the region, only to have the local squad impress on all counts.

“We ran varsity level and did very well,” Richards said. “We competed in distance carnival events at Redondo Nike Invitational. We ran  distance relays, 4×800,  and Distance Medley Relay (DMR) 1200, 400, 800 and 1600 meters and came back Saturday morning to Redondo and ran individual distance races of 1600m and 800m. We did good in all of them.”

And that wasn’t the end of the regional competitive matches as the So Pas sprinters and jumpers headed to Sim Valley Invitational. 

They also found their way to the local In & Out Burger to embrace team-building along with fine dining. Richards preaches a strong ethic of team building because in track & field, where so many events are individual against individual, the unity aspect can get lost. There is team strategy that is employed to win matches, especially in league dual meets, he said. With 130 members on the team, team building becomes even more important.

“We have about 10 percent of the student population on our squad,” Richards said. “That’s a lot of kids. They come out because we have a winning tradition. Success breeds success.”

The squad has been dominant in regional track & field, winning league championships upon league championships, for years on end. This also poses a unique challenge for the squad.

Richards is all-too familiar with the fact that other teams target his squad because of their stellar record. He knows they raise their game to match his. Although confident in his team’s abilities, Richards is most assuredly not over-confident.

“I don’t know if we are going to win but for somebody to beat us, they have to go above us,” he said in an earlier interview. “We’re going to be out there so I don’t know, I can’t say win or lose, but we are definitely going to be ready. For somebody to beat us they have to put together extraordinary measures. We are not going to go below our standards.”

The next few weeks will tell a lot, Richards said, as the squad will go to the Stanford Invitational and the Azusa Pacific Distance Meet of Champions.

In the meantime, league play is at hand with La Cañada Thursday followed by Monrovia, which all leads up to the Tiger Invitational on April 5, where more than 150 schools compete.

Steve Whitmore
Author

Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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