Sarah Robinson received her graduation present a week late, but the Gunn grad will gladly take it after winning the girls' 1,600 meters at the CIF State Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis.
With barely 200 meters left in the race and Robinson running in third place, leader Anna Maxwell of San Lorenzo Valley and second-place Destiny Collins of Great Oak shockingly fell to the track.
Maxwell's trail leg had clipped Collins, who had moved oh-to- close to Maxwell's heels as the race headed into its final stages. Both Maxwell and Collins tumbled to the track as Robinson, who was primed to take over the lead, ran past the collision and on her way to victory in 4:44.25 -- her second-fastest time ever.
"I feel so sorry for the girls," Robinson said. "They had pushed me throughout the race."
Robinson, who finished third in this race last year, didn't even need to run a personal best (4:44.07 at the CCS finals) to win her first state title.
She settled into third as the race began. By the time Maxwell , the defending state champ, finished the first 800 in 2:15.55, it was a three-girl race as the trio opened up a huge gap on the pack.
At that point, it was just a question of who was going to win gold, silver and bronze. Robinson appeared ready to challenge for first before Maxwell and Collins went down. After that, Robinson cruised to victory on the hot evening.
"Extremely impressive, especially given the weather," said Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer. "And I think she definitely could have gone faster in the 3200, if that had been her goal."
With the temperatures still in the mid-90s later in the evening, Robinson returned in the 3,200 finals and ran to a second-place finish in a lifetime best of 10:12.40. That broke her school record by four seconds and moved her to No. 4 all-time in the CCS. It also ranks her No. 4 in the state this year and No. 7 in the nation.
Moreover, Robinson's effort is the best distance double in the 1600 and 3200 by a CCS girl at the state meet since Cory Schubert of Del Mar won state titles in both races (4:44.93 and 10:08.14) in 1983.
Gunn sophomore Gillian Meeks finished 16th in the 3,200 in a personal best of 10:46.17. Northwood senior Bethan Knights won going away in 10:00.19, opening up a 100-meter lead on the field at the very start.
Gunn scored 21 points and tied for fifth place with Harvard-Westlake. Long Beach Poly won the girls' title with 70 points.
Recent Menlo School graduate Maddy Price gave it her best in the girls' 400, coming away with a silver medal while clocking a personal best of 53.42.
With state leader Kaelin Roberts in Lane 5 and Price in Lane 6, Roberts had an eye on Price throughout the race until the freshman from Long Beach Poly passed Price on the second turn and pulled away to win in 52.52, fastest in the nation this season.
Price surpassed her previous school-record best of 53.43 and remains No. 2 all-time in the Central Coast Section. She was sixth in this race last year.
Price came back later in the meet in the 200 and finished fifth in 24.12, just off her personal best of 23.97 in the prelims. Price started in Lane 8, a disadvantage from the start and was in sixth or seventh coming off the turn. Heavily favored Arianna Washington of Long Beach Poly won in 22.96.
In the girls' 300 hurdles final, Gunn sophomore Maya Miklos finished sixth in 42.55, just off her school record of 42.54 from the prelims -- ranking her No 8 all-time in the CCS. Section meet champ Reonna Collier of Piedmont Hills won in 40.90, fastest in the nation this season and No. 2 all-time in the CCS.
In the boys' 400 final, Palo Alto grad Nick Sullivan finished ninth in 48.45, short of his goal of lowering his school record of 42.25 from last year. Kemonie Briggs of Wilson-Long Beach won in 46.92.