AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The best small high school track team in Texas is once again a freckle-faced girl named Bonnie Richardson.
Valedictorian of her 14-student senior class in the tiny farming town of Rochelle, Richardson won the Class A girls team state title by herself for the second consecutive year Saturday by single-handedly beating 56 other schools.
Her reward was a second state championship trophy she won't have to share with anyone — there are no other girls on the Rochelle High School track team.
"It's great. It's over. It's done," Richardson said. "It's nice that I can relax now."
The daughter of a Rochelle High teacher and a rancher, Richardson won four individual medals in five events: gold in the long jump and high jump, silver in the discus and bronze in the 200 meters. She also finished fourth in the 100 meters.
Since becoming the first girl in state history last year to win a team title solo, her celebrity has put her in national magazines and gotten her a Texas A&M track scholarship. It may even lure more than one girl next year to replace Richardson on the Lady Hornets team.
For Richardson, repeating the feat Saturday was perfect until she stood atop the medal stand and the public address announcer implored the crowd to applaud this amazing accomplishment by ... Bonnie Singleton?
Richardson laughed. Besides, she's now looking forward to some anonymity.
"I still get phone calls, and that kind of creeps me out because I don't know how they got my number," she said.
Rochelle is a small, unincorporated farming town about 140 miles northeast of Austin. The high school doesn't even have a proper track for Richardson to train. She runs on a circular path of hard, rutted caliche — a type of soil — that the McCulloch County commissioner smooths out about a once a year.
So eager were other coaches to groom their own one-athlete team that they called Rochelle's school wondering about this track surface they never heard of.
"They read in the paper that she runs on caliche, and they call saying, 'How do we get one of those caliche tracks?'" said Steve Butler, superintendent of the Rochelle school district. "They think it's something fancy. They can have this one."