Solomon King, Striding Towards the Spring Track Season

Christopher Tremblay
Samantha Reen #3 and cousin Erin Reen #4 in back
Issue Date: 
April, 2020
Article Body: 

Solomon King knew that he could run, and run fast, he just never envisioned himself running track for high school. Upon entering his freshman year at Norwood, he decided that he’d check it out to see what it was like; what he found was a lot of work and commitment, so he passed on the sport for the time being. However, when the spring season rolled around during his sophomore year, his friends convinced him to give it another shot.
“As a freshman, having track as an everyday commitment was just too much for me at the time, but by my sophomore year I felt that I was more organized and had things under control so when my friends asked me to try it again I did,” King said. “After that first week of tryouts, I was never so nervous in my life, but that was partially my fault. I wanted to go out and prove myself early on and pushed myself to do the best I could.”
That sophomore season King decided on running the hurdles as the team did not have a lot of hurdlers and figured that the event was not only a unique one but one that had could give him an opportunity to shine. It took him some time to learn the techniques of jumping over the hurdle while running full speed, but once he did it became an event he came to love.
“It was a learning curve and about half way through the season when I won my first race, I thought I might actually know what I’m doing,” King said. “I had no technique, but I did have the speed and posted a 17.1 second time on the 100-meter hurdles.”
In addition to running the 100-meter hurdles, King also takes part in the 400-meter hurdles, the 4 x 400 relay, and high jump for the Mustangs. During his junior campaign, Norwood Coach Matt Curran decided to try King in a sprinting event.
“Coach put me in as we didn’t have anyone to run the 55 meters and would have lost points,” King said. “It was really surprising to me that I won. I knew that I was fast, but how far would that take me in an event that I had never taken part in.”
Having done well in the 55-meter dash when the team came across the same situation in the 300 meters this past winter season, King was slotted in the race to try and give the team some points. Going into the race, King didn’t think that he’d win the race but was going to give it all he had. Surprisingly, he crossed the finish line first with a time of 37.1 seconds.
“We knew that he had the speed but in the beginning we didn’t have the need for another 300-meter runner back then and he was still developing as a hurdler,” Curran said. “He developed much quicker than I had thought he would and to run a 37.1 on a totally flat surface in his first time in the event was impressive.”
King was not only helping the team in the sprinting events, he was winning them, and that changed the entire focus of how Curran would use him the remainder of his senior season.
“The perspective was that he was a better 300-meter runner than a hurdler,” the Norwood coach said.
When the winter season came to an end, King had qualified for five different events (55-meter hurdles, 55 meters dash, 300 meters, the high jump, and the 4 x 400 relay) that he could participate in during the State Meet. The problem was that athletes could only take part in no more than three.
“I decided that I would defiantly run the 4 x 400 as I was the fastest and didn’t want to hurt my team,” he said. “I then figured that the 55 and 300 meters would give me the best opportunity to move on.”
King’s decisions were good ones as the senior came in third in the 55 meter setting a new school record (6.61 seconds), finished second in the 4 x 400 relays with his teammates, and captured his first ever Division 4 Championship in the 300 meters, and also setting a new school record. King had previously broken the Norwood 300-meter record, which had stood for 20 years, at the Tri Valley League Meet when he ran a 36.41, and then took down his own record at the Sectionals with a shattering time of 36.16.
“Going into the Sectionals, Solomon was seeded sixth and we were not expecting him to come away with the championship,” the Mustang Coach said. “But at the Reggie Lewis Center (where the Sectionals were held) the 300 is one of the most exciting events because of the merger midway through the race.”
Curran went on to say King won his heat with ease but the other heat, which had four of the top runners in it, found themselves tangled at the merger and fell leaving the door wide open for King and he walked right through it. Curran noted that he had seen this happen once before some 10 years ago when the runners didn’t calculate the merger properly and bumped into one another causing a tangled-up mess.
As a newly appointed Sectional champion, King was hoping to challenge for the State Title, but unfortunately found himself sick the previous week and was not himself going into the meet.
“I had hoped that once the race began that the adrenaline would kick in and it would be go time, but unfortunately it didn’t work that way and I did not do all that well,” King said.
Although he didn’t get to really showcase himself in the best of light at the States, King still has the spring outdoor track season at Norwood, where he is hoping that he can avenge his sickness and perform at a high level.
“This spring we have the same group of 4 x 400 runners that we had during the winter season, so we are looking to get back to the State Meet,” King said. “In the 400 meters, I’m hoping to come out strong and set the school record.”
Following high school, King is setting his mind on college where he is looking to pursue a running career on the next level, but for now he has one more track season with Norwood.