Gunn senior Sarah Robinson nearly pulled off yet another triple. Menlo senior Maddy Price reached a goal while winning twice. And the Palo Alto sprint crew got all its top runners and relays through during a solid day at the Central Coast Section Track and Field semifinals on Saturday at San Jose City College.
Robinson likely will be down to two events for the finals, even though she proved that she probably could qualify for the state meet in three events after a remarkable effort Saturday.
Robinson won her heat in 4:56.83 but finished second overall to state leader Anna Maxwell of San Lorenzo Valley. Robinson then ran a school record -- and the No. 3 time in the state -- of 2:09.72 to qualify first in the 800, where Maxwell also holds the state lead. Finally, Robinson romped to a 10:39.80 victory in the 3,200 to complete one of the finest triples in CCS history.
Price wasn't too far behind as she took the 400 as expected in 55.34 and came back to take the 200 in a personal best of 23.98. It was her first time under 24 seconds and it moved her to No. 8 all-time in CCS history.
"Maddy finally broke 24 and thus PR-ing by a half second," said Menlo coach Jorge Chen. "And that's a mental bump that we are glad that she overcame."
The Gunn girls, meanwhile, set themselves up for a possible shot at the CCS title. The 400 relay team set a school record of 48.55 while qualifying second overall. Sophomore Gillian Meeks qualified in both the 1,600 (5:00.20) and 3,200 (10:55.43) with Emily Aiken also qualifying in the 3,200 (11:10.81).
Jenae Pennywell, who ran a leg on the 400 relay, set a Gunn record of 12.21 while finishing third overall in the 100. Teammate Robin Peter was eighth 12.51) after finishing fourth in the 100 hurdles (15.22). Fellow sophomore Maya Miklos qualified second in the 300 hurdles (43.64) after anchoring the 400 relay. And, senior Adriana Noronha advanced in both the shot put and discus for the Titans.
"This was definitely one of my favorite days ever as a coach!" said Gunn's PattiSue Plumer. "Not just Sarah, though she continues to amaze. She just didn't run 2:09, she did it along, in the wind . . . The 4x100 started us off on the right foot (no pun intended). We figured it would be epic, one way or the other and it was -- in the best possible way.
"Perhaps the only disappointment of the evening is that our (girls') 4x4 (relay) did not qualify. But, it was the fifth-fastest in school history and the fastest time run since 2001 -- so, hard to be upset."
The Palo Alto girls qualified in both the 400 relay (49.28) and 1,600 relay (4:02.80) while M-A qualified Annalisa Crowe in the 800 (2:12.17), Kathryn Mohr in the pole vault and in the 1,600 relay (third in a season-best 4:01.36). Crowe also ran a leg on the relay, which clocked the No. 3 time in school history.
The Palo Alto boys, meanwhile, qualified its 400 relay (43.23) and 1,600 relay (a season-best 3:24.52) teams with Nick Sullivan running on both while qualifying third in the 400 (a personal best-48.56) and second in the 200 (a PR of 21.77). Teammate Eli Givens ran on the 400 and 1,600 relays and finished third in the 100 (11.03).
Paly freshman Kent Slaney continued to improve in the 1,600, running a personal best by four seconds (4:24.44) while advancing to the finals. He now ranks as the No. 3 freshman in the state, according to Athletic.net.
Paul Touma of Menlo School was second in the triple jump (45-3 1/2) in addition to qualifying in the long jump (20-11).
"Paul looked good as we decided not to take all his jumps after 45-3," explained Chen, "so he could focus on the long jump."
Menlo-Atherton senior Zach Plante broke the school record in the 400 with a 48.95 while finishing fourth overall. The previous record had stood since 1983. He also ran a leg on the 1,600 relay squad that qualified sixth in a season-best 3:26.56.
Priory's Ross Corey advanced in the 800 with a season best of 1:57.66, Sacred Heart Prep's Daniel Hill lowered his school record in the 3,200 with a qualifying time of 9:26.75 and SHP senior Ricky Grau advanced in the 110 high hurdles in 14.78.
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