Gunn senior Sarah Robinson has run in seven cross-country races this season and won all of them. That makes her a heavy favorite for individual honors at the SCVAL El Camino Division Championships on Tuesday at Crystal Springs in Belmont.
Robinson, however, will not go into the girls' varsity race (3:30 p.m.) at the 2.95-mile layout as the defending champion. In fact, she didn't event compete last season.
Robinson was dealing with some physical problems last year and missed the league finals. Without her, Gunn finished fourth.
The story will be quite different this time around as Robinson leads a young, talented and deep squad coached by two-time Olympian PattiSue Plumer.
The Titans made their final tuneup before the league meet a good one by easily winning the annual Palo Alto City Championships on Tuesday on the 2.18-mile Bol Park course at Gunn.
With Robinson running the second-fastest time ever on the course (11:49.6) while winning by nearly 50 seconds, Gunn finished 1-3-4-6-7 for 21 points without its best lineup. The girls' course record is 11:41 by Tori Tyler in 2004.
The Titans' No. 2 runner, sophomore Gillian Meeks, ran in the first of two varsity races and won comfortably in 12:47.1.
Trailing Robinson was Gunn freshman Claire Hu in third (12:48.4), sophomore Maya Miklos in fourth (13:10.7), freshman Shannon Yang in sixth (13:17.5) and freshman Illi Garnder in seventh (13:20.8).
Palo Alto sophomore Bryn Carlson (12:38.5) and junior Katie Foug (13:16.7) prevented a Gunn sweep by finishing second and fifth, respectively. The Vikings were second in the team race with 43 points while Castilleja was third with 78. Senior Alina Brown led the Gators with a ninth-place finish of 13:46.1.
In the Junior-Senior boys' race, Palo Alto junior Lucas Matison cruised to victory in 10:59.3, but Gunn took six of the next seven spots and won the team title with 21 points. Paly was second with 38.
Gunn finished 2-3-4-5 behind the efforts of Thomas Rasmussen (11:24.7), Antonio Puglisi (11:31.4), Kushal Nimkar (11:33.0) and Noah Krigel (11:33.9). Paly junior Jake Gurle then beat two Gunn runners to the finish line as he took sixth in 11:38.8.
Paly actually had the second-fastest boy on the day, Kent Slaney, but the freshman ran in the frosh-soph race. He won easily in 11:15.3 to break the previous freshman course record of 11:37.0 by Paul Summers in 2006.
Slaney will rejoin his varsity teammates for Tuesday's league finals, which go off at 4:15 p.m.