La Jolla track: Vikings have some speed to burn

Ask La Jolla High track coach Paul Byrne what kind of season three of his girl sprinters have had this spring, and he’ll say, “Good.”

Payton Smith, a sophomore burner, ran a 12.0-second-wind-aided 100 meters on March 3 in a home meet against Sage Creek. “I’ll put that in the record books,” said Byrne at the time, one of four 12.0-second-and under times ever recorded by a Viking girl.

Maddie Lyons, a transfer from Bishop’s, has continued to record fast times since coming over to the public school on Rushville (an appropriate name). In that particular meet against the visiting Bobcats, the senior blazed a time just behind Smith to the tune of 12.65 seconds.

And finally, Ebony Crandle, another senior, active in ASB and other student endeavors, wasn’t too shabby, either. In that March 3 competition — the initial Sage Creek finisher came in almost two seconds later than the first Viking across the finish line — Crandle recorded a fine time of 13.43 seconds.

The top three La Jolla finishers went 1-2-3. “The time counts as a PR (personal record) for Payton,” explains Byrne when asked about his comment from him at the time, “just not a record” in the school record books. The wind component, measured at 3.2 mph, didn’t necessarily aid the sprinters in going faster. But in the exacting standards of track times, it exceeded the allowable wind speed which might have altered finishing times.

Byrne, proud of his sprinters as well as all his other Viking track athletes — he coached the girl and boy pole vaulters until a constant turnover of head coaches led him to accept the head job several years ago to give the student-athletes continuity and stability — revealed Ebony Crandle has accepted a scholarship to attend USC next year.

La Jolla’s Ebony Crandle (near right), Payton Smith (third from right), and Maddie Lyons (far left) start in the 100 meters against Sage Creek on March 3. Smith, a sophomore, finished in 12.0 seconds; Lyons, a senior was second in 12.65; Crandle, also a senior, in 13.43. PHOTO BY ED PIPER

“She’s one of our team captains,” said the coach. “Ella She’s not going to run track at USC, but ella she’ll go there on a scholarship.” Earlier in the year, Crandle has written pieces for publication about her growing awareness and leadership in student leadership and activism.

The saga of Lyons is not an unfamiliar tale of the COVID pandemic. It has resulted in her medalling from her, which includes the top six in an event in CIF. “Maddie was going to sit out during COVID,” says Byrne. “She couldn’t compete her sophomore year.” Since coming over to La Jolla, she has competed in the “four-by” (400-meter relay with Crandle and Smith, and this year with freshman Elena Farrar).

Smith and distance runner Kirra Fisk qualified for the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in Los Angeles County this past weekend.

An addition this track season has been coach Krishna Curry, a former UCLA sprinter who “implements a lot of stretching,” in the words of Byrne.

On April 9, Smith ran a kilometer in the 400 meters (57.13) and eighth in the 100 meters (12.10) at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in LA, which draws athletes from all across the US

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