Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Rionna “RiRi” Wallace runs through her life

100-meter runner Rionna Wallace goes explains her dedication to Christianity and her future goals
Samuel Chacko
Rionna “RiRi” Wallace is currently practicing her running skills during Monday’s practice on April 10.

Rionna “RiRi” Wallace is reserved and shy but is always willing to help anyone in need.

Wallace is a devoted Christian, ever since she was born and had a huge role in her life.

“Grew up in the church, I went every Sunday school, everything that has to do with church,” she said as she points out that Christianity plays a huge role in her life.

“He teaches me things […] like how to be patient, how to be more kind, how to be more open-minded and how to keep my life going in the positive direction,” she adds.

The sprinter for Cerritos College said that God gives her more purpose in life, “God being in my life has only helped me move forward,” and added that certain situations happen because of god.

She got into babysitting when she was in elementary school when her brother from her mom’s side, James Chaney.

Rionna “RiRi” Wallace is currently thinking about what she’ll do next after running half of the Cerritos football field on March 27. (Samuel Chacko)

Wallace also said that she has special needs nieces and nephews, “I see the way they operate and what they need and I feel like it’s not given to them in the way that they need it.”

Her nephew, Aadyn Mason, has autism and is non-verbal so teaching him sign language and learning to communicate in sign language is vital.

“I really don’t like how the system just throws special needs children out there because they don’t realize how much help they need,” she said.

She also points out issues with the long waiting times and the lack of care that some social workers have for their job.

Wallace actually learned sign language in middle school in a hearing/deaf school at Marlton School, through her kindergarten and 5th grade years.

The track star said that she was a pretty athletic kid growing up, “When I was younger, they [her family] used to send me everywhere to go get stuff and I’d run instead of walking.”

She comes from an athletic family background, with both Ronnie Wallace, Rionna’s dad and mom, Tracey Williams, both running track when they were younger — everyone in her family did track at one point.

She first started doing track when she transferred to Hoover Middle School, when she was in 8th grade, because she didn’t want to do Physical Education (PE).

The Falcon’s track player then went to Lakewood High School to continue track and during her Sophomore year of high school, Wallace said that Taylor Cudequest changed her whole perspective on track and field.

“When he came to the school and he started coaching me, I got a whole new perspective of track and taught me so many things,” she said about Cudequest, “It made me grow a new love for it.”

Rionna said that she was really close to all of the coaches and players with her high school team.

RiRi said that the former Cerritos assistant coach knew how to coach and connect with women athletes while also knowing the right words to uplift players on the track team.

Rionna “RiRi” Wallace is doing stretching drills to get her legs ready to run across the football field on March 27. (Samuel Chacko)

She then met Cerritos’ Women’s Head Coach Michael Allen at a track meet during the 2022 season but she actually knew coach Allen since high school — since Wallace would practice at Cerritos when she was in high school.

The Cerritos College track star said that she’s extremely grateful for Coach Allen and that Coach Allen only puts her in a positive mindset.

“He’s given me many life lessons like keeping my head on straight, shutting out the noise […], checking up on me when I was there, calling me and texting me,” she points out, “It meant a lot, more than he can imagine.”

The Sophomore 100-meter runner has future plans to continue in track in field and is looking for any scholarships that may come her way.

She’s planning on changing from a Sociology major to a Child Development major, mainly teaching special needs students how to navigate throughout their day in life.

“Learning how to put things away, learning how to wash dishes and close the cabinet after they use it,” she said as she gives examples.

Babysitting her nieces and nephews, she points out, made a huge impact in changing majors and in life in general.

“There is always someone out there who understands what you’re going through,” Wallace said as her last piece of advice.

“For everyone who feels like they can’t do something or is afraid to step outside their comfort zone, I would say take a leap of faith because you’ll never know what you can do.”

To follow Rionna’s journey through track and field, follow her Instagram.

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About the Contributor
Samuel Chacko
Samuel Chacko, Editor in Chief
Samuel Chacko is the Editor-in-Chief for Talon marks covering sports, politics, news and opinion. Sam enjoys playing video games, watching sports and music. Samuel is hoping to transfer to Cal State Long Beach in 2023 and work for a prestigious Journalism outlet one day. Contact [email protected] to meet with him and for news tips.
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Rionna “RiRi” Wallace runs through her life