A YEAR PASSES. A teenage girl climbs into her coach's white Chevy Malibu. The heat. The cicadas. The cattle. The buzzards.
The one that fell on her as they were driving home from last year's state meet: Oh, my God. Next year. Again.
Nothing stops the eye, nothing bends the road. It's a blank slate, this land; anything might be scrawled on it.
Smith has received many awards and honors for his work at Sports Illustrated. He won the National Magazine Award for non-fiction, the magazine equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, a record four times and was a finalist for the award a record ten times. His stories have appeared in The Best American Sports Writing series a record eight times. Some of his literary peers have called him "the best magazine writer in America" and "America's best sportswriter". He also has been cited as a role model by younger sportswriters. *
In 2008, Richardson competed as the entire Rochelle team in five events at Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.
On the first day of competition, Richardson won the high jump (5 feet 5 inches; 1.65 metres), placed second in the long jump (18 feet 7 inches; 5.77 metres), and placed third in the discus (121 feet; 36.88 metres).
On the second day, Richardson won the 200 metres (25.03 seconds) and was second in the 100 metres (12.19 seconds), losing by a mere one-hundredth of a second.
Richardson's accomplishments over the two-day meet earned her (and Rochelle) a total of 42 points, six ahead of Chilton and Seymour, tied for second place. It should be noted that she accomplished this despite being unable to participate in the relay races, which under UIL scoring rules award double the points of individual events.
Richardson became the first female, and only the third person, to singlehandedly win a Texas state team title, joining James Segrest (Class 2A in 1954) and Frank Pollard (Class B in 1976).
In 2009, Richardson qualified for the same five events, again as the entire Rochelle team.
On the first day, Richardson defended her long jump title (17 feet 4.50 inches; 5.30 metres), also took the title in the high jump (5 feet 8 inches; 1.73 metres), and placed second in the discus (126 feet 9 inches; 38.63 metres), for a total of 28 points.
On the second day, Richardson placed third in the 200 metres (25.78 seconds) and fourth in the 100 metres (12.51 seconds).
Richardson's accomplishments over the two-day meet earner her and Rochelle 38 points, two points better than second-place Cayuga. Again, as with the prior year, she could not compete in relay events which are scored double that of individual events.
In addition to her track exploits, Richardson was named the Class A Division II high school basketball player of the year. She was the valedictorian of her class of 14 and a member of the National Honor Society.
She will attend Texas A&M University in the fall of 2009 with a full scholarship.
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