Posted by brad peters on Jun 14 2019 at 10:03AM PDT

State Runner up. CIF Master Champion. Big 8 League Champion. 2xschool record holder. King Stadium Record holder. Top 5 in the nation. King High’s Athlete of the Year. Team Co-MVP.

It’s been quite a year for Reyte Rash, but the Press Enterprise bestowed another title on him today, selecting him as their “Track Athlete of the Year.”

Here is their story, written by Dennis Pope

Reyte Rash admits to having big – but perhaps unrealistic – expectations for his final high school season.

After surprising many with his win in the 300-meter hurdles at the 2018 CIF Southern Section Masters Meet, the Riverside King senior said the pressure to perform early and often may have stunted his times early this year.

“I had crazy-high expectations for myself, and it wasn’t actually a good thing that I was doing that because after doing something so unexpected last year it kind of makes you really confident in yourself and I let that take control,” Rash said.

So he went back to basics, focused on his technique and his team, and remembered that improvement is measured in increments.

“I needed to calm down and take things slow, and just be happy with the progress I was making,” he said, “because getting faster doesn’t happen just like that. It takes a lot of time; weeks, months.”

A turning point came during King’s Big VIII League dual meet against Roosevelt on March 13. Needing to avoid a sweep by their rivals in the 400 meters, Wolves track and field coach John Corona asked Rash to compete in the event.

“He’s always been a great team athlete (and) that is sometimes hard to find in track, but we needed something to try to break up Roosevelt’s dominance in the 400 and he stepped up,” Corona said.

Not only did Rash make the podium but he won the only 400 race he ran all season, posting the third-best time in the Inland area in the process.

“We said, ‘We only need to you to get second or third,’ ” Corona said, “but he goes out and ends up winning the race and sets the school record in the process with a 48.53. It was just incredible and a big turning point.”

Formally a specialist in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, Rash was again the Big VIII League champion in both events this season, and he also ran a leg on King’s league champion 4×100 relay team.

He finished second at the CIF-SS Division 1 finals in both hurdles events and went on to win his second CIF-SS Masters Meet title in the 300 hurdles, but he had to withdraw from 110 hurdles because of a nagging groin injury.

“The injury really slowed down my work so I really couldn’t go as hard in practice or it would make it worse, or I’d have to wrap it so tight that it would make it hard for me to move my leg,” he said.

Rash nursed the injury and advanced to his second CIF State meet, making the final of the 300 hurdles where he ran the No. 2 time in the state and No. 3 time in the nation (36.41 seconds). Upland’s Caleb Roberson edged him at 36.32, the state’s top time and second-fastest in the nation this season.

“That was the race that I wanted to go out with a bang because it was the last race I was ever going to run in high school,” he said. “Even though I stumbled a little, and it was enough for me not to be able to catch up, I’m still happy with it.”

Rash now will head to Cal State Fullerton on a full-tuition scholarship — his reason for running track from the beginning.

“The whole goal of my high school track career was to make sure I got a scholarship to college, and now it’s up to me to go as far and as fast as I can,” he said.

— Dennis Pope