Menlo School junior Maddy Price said her goal for the year was to peak at the CIF State Track and Field Championships. Now, Price will get a chance to test that plan.
Price won both the girls' 200 and 400 meters in record-breaking times to pace local efforts at the Central Coast Section Championships on Friday at Gilroy High.
Needing to finish among the top three or meet the automatic qualifying standard in her events, Price took the easiest route. She won the 400 in 54.78, coming off the final turn in second place and powering down the homestretch in impressive fashion -- taking the lead with about 75 meters left. She qualified for the state meet in the event for the second straight year after finishing third in 56.68 last season.
Price's time, which broke her own school record of 55.16 set in the semifinals last week, moved her into the No. 3 spot in the state -- based on times heading into Friday. Price also is the fastest junior in the state and now No. 12 on the all-time CCS list.
In the 200, Price again was in second place coming off the turn before turning it on and surging into the front to win. Her time of 24.30 would have broken her school mark of 24.50, but it was aided by a 4.4 meters-per-second wind. Nonetheless, it was her second CCS-leading time of the day.
Price was one of six local athletes who earned a trip to the state meet, set for next Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High in Clovis.
Gunn junior Sarah Robinson pulled off an impressive double by finishing third in the 1,600 (4:48.41) and second in the 3,200. Her time of 10:28.08 in the metric two-miler, which ranks No. 4 in the state, broke the school record of 10:31.04 by Tori Tyler in the CCS finals in 2005. Tyler went on to win the state title that year.
Robinson, who now ranks No. 8 on the all-time CCS list, helped Gunn finish fourth in the team race with 31 points. It was the Titans' best finish since tying for fourth in 1996. Los Gatos won the team title with 79.5.
A third junior, Palo Alto's Nick Sullivan, also earned a pair of berths to the state meet and just missed a third. He made a late move in the 400 and barely grabbed third in 48.97. After finishing fourth in the 200 in 21.97, Sullivan anchored the Vikings' 1,600 relay team to victory in 3:22.77.
That helped the defending champion Vikings finish fourth in the team race with 38 points. Bellarmine won the crown with 55 points.
Senior Jayshawn Gates, who earlier missed out in the 100 when he finished fifth in 11.16, led off the relay. He handed off to freshman Eli Givens, who gave Paly a brief lead heading into the third leg. Dami Bolarinwa, held the lead for 300 meters until being passed. By the time Sullivan got the baton and got going, the Vikings were in fifth.
Sullivan, however, ate up the field one by one before finally taking the lead coming off the final turn. He powered down the homestretch to give the Vikings a well-deserved victory and some redemption, after a bad handoff led to a disqualification in the 400 relay in last weekend's semifinals.
Sullivan and his 1,600 teammates will be joined at the state meet by Paly senior Victor Du, who pulled a mild surprise in the long jump with a winning leap of 23-4 a personal record.
Joining Gunn's Robinson at the state meet will be freshman teammate Maya Miklos, who also pulled a mild upset by winning the girls' 300 hurdles over CCS leader Kolisa Nhlapo of Mountain View. Miklos took the lead with two hurdles remaining and clocked a sizzling 43.39 to shatter the previous Gunn school record. Miklos moved among the top 15 in the state with her time.
Sacred Heart Prep senior Nico Robinson was the final local qualifier as he clocked a school record of 14.34 while finishing third in the 110 high hurdles. He surpassed his previous mark of 14.42, set in the semifinals. Robinson finished fifth in long jump with a personal best and school record of 22-10 that met the automatic qualifying standard for the state meet. However, he missed qualifying in the 300 intermediate hurdles as he took eighth in 40.04.
Menlo-Atherton senior George Baier wasn't as fortunate with the automatic standard in the boys' 1,600 finale. While finishing fourth in a personal best of 4:16.54 (tie for No. 2 in school history), the defending CCS champ just missed a trip by .16 of a second.
In other boys' events:
The Menlo-Atherton 400 relay was fourth in 43.37, Menlo's Walter Peacock was seventh in the 100 in 11.20, M-A's Zach Plante was seventh in the 400 in 49.98, Gunn's Wyatt Eberspacher was sixth in the 110 high hurdles in 15.40 with SHP's Rick Grau seventh in 15.55, Paly's Eilon Tzur was seventh in the triple jump (43-7 3/4) and eighth in the high jump (5-11), while the Menlo School 1,600 relay team was fifth in a school-record 3:24.35 with M-A seventh in 3:25.71.
For the girls, M-A freshman Annalisa Crowe also had a near-qualifying run as she finished fifth in the girls' 800 in a personal best of 2:15.37. that's No. 2 all-time at M-A. She also ran on the Bears' 1,600 relay team that clocked 4:04.34 for fifth place and No. 6 all-time at school.
The Palo Alto girls' 400 relay was sixth in 49.43, Gunn's Adriana Noronha was sixth in the shot put (36-1 1/2) and seventh in the discus (106-3), and Gunn freshman Gillian Meeks was seventh in the 3,200 in a personal best of 10:55.23 that ranks No. 5 in school history.