Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 13, 2014

Robinson, Price run to records to wrap up prep careers

by Keith Peters

The high school track and field season may be over, but recent graduates Sarah Robinson from Gunn and Maddy Price from Menlo School aren't ready to put their feet up and kick back for the summer. Quite the contrary.

Both runners will be busy doing what they do best after earning medals at the CIF State Track and Field Championships last weekend in sizzling Clovis.

Robinson is discussing her summer plans this week with Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer.

"I will definitely will be doing both running and soccer, though," said Robinson, who will be training with the Stanford women's soccer team in a matter of weeks. "I am very excited about preparing for Stanford."

Price, meanwhile, will continue her running career at Duke University this fall. Before heading to Durham, N.C., however, Price will be busy with a handful of track meets.

First up will be the Brooks Invitational on June 21 in Seattle, Wash. The meet features many of the top athletes in the nation. Price will run the 400 against California state meet champ Kaelin Roberts of Long Beach Poly and Olivia Baker of Columbia High in Maplewood, N.J. Both have run under 53 seconds this year.

"I'm so proud of her for getting to this point and being invited to this meet," said Menlo coach Jorge Chen.

In July, Price will return to the Canadian Junior Track and Field Championships in Sainte-Therese, Quebec (July 4-6), and run for a berth on the Canadian Junior Team that will compete at the IAAF World World Championships from July 22-27 in Eugene, Ore. Price could make the Canadian team in the 400 and/or 1,600 relay. Both her parents are Canadian-born, thus she has dual citizenship.

Both Robinson and Price capped their prep careers with standout efforts at the state meet as Robinson won the 1,600 and took second in the 3,200 with Price earning silver in the 400 during a hot weekend at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Robinson won her first state title in the most unusual way as her competition tangled, tripped and turned a competitive race into an easy finish for Robinson.

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 dangerously 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 Anna and Destiny," Robinson said. "We were pushing each other the entire race and for it to end up like it did was sad. Although I am happy that I won, I can't help but feel sad for the two great runners that were unlucky.

"I did feel like I had a shot at winning. I was prepared to make a move with 200 to go and I felt ready to do it. I was completely shocked, and almost stopped, when both runners had fallen."

Robinson, who finished third in this race last year, didn't even need to run a personal best. She clocked 4:44.07 at the CCS finals, ranking her No. 4 in the nation.

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. Collins got up to finish second but Maxwell never recovered and wound up 11th.

"Extremely impressive, especially given the weather," Plumer said of Robinson's effort. "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.

Gunn sophomore Gillian Meeks finished 16th in the 3,200 in a personal best of 10:46.17. Northwood (Irvine) senior Bethan Knights won going away in 10:00.19, opening up a 100-meter lead on the field at the very start.

"For the 3,200, I discussed the race plan after the 1,600 with PattiSue and we came up witht he plan that I would race for second place," explained Robinson. "Knights was fresh and was going to go out hard. So, I thought the best strategy was to hand with the second-place pack. I felt good throughout the entire race and most likely could have gone faster."

Robinson's effort was 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. Coincidently, Schubert also attended Stanford, where Robinson will play soccer this fall.

"Overall, I am very happy with my performance at the state meet," Robinson said.

Gunn scored 21 points and tied for fifth place with Harvard-Westlake. Long Beach Poly won the girls' title with 70 points.

Price, meanwhile, gave it her best in the girls' 400 while coming away with a silver medal after clocking a personal best of 53.42.

With Roberts, the state leader, in Lane 5 and Price in Lane 6, Roberts had an eye on Price throughout the race until the freshman 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. She finishes No. 2 in the state and No. 4 in the U.S.

"I think, as a competitor, it is hard to be pleased with second place," Price said. "But, at the end of the day, winning doesn't necessarily satisfy and that is what my (club) coach told me after. I am not satisfied with second, but that will make me work even harder again. I was so lucky to have the coaching and the support that I received this season, and the other small successes that I attained throughout the journey were largely because of them."

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 (tied for No. 25 in the nation). 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 a U.S.-leading 22.96.

"It was an amazing high school track career," said Price, "and I know I have a lot to look forward to in the future, as well."

The same could be said for Gunn junior-to-be Maya Miklos, who finished sixth in the girls' 300 hurdles final in 42.55. The time was 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.

A handful of other local athletes competed in Friday's prelims, but did not advance.

In the girls' 400 relay prelims, Gunn finished 19th overall in 48.69 while taking sixth in the first heat. The Titans' team of Amy Chen, Robin Peter, Jenae Pennywell and Miklos needed a time of 47.28 to reach the finals.

Gunn senior Adriana Noronha also needed a personal record to reach the finals in the girls' discus. But, she didn't get it as she reached 122-5 — five feet short of her best. She needed a mark of 132-2 to advance to the finals. No CCS athletes advanced.

"She had a very solid series of throws and definitely enjoyed her experience," Plumer said of Noronha.

In the shot put, Noronha reached 38-1 1/2 while finishing 23rd overall. She needed to hit 42-3 to reach the finals.

Menlo junior Paul Touma leaped 45-4 3/4 in the triple jump to finish 16th overall in the prelims. Touma needed to jump 46-8 to advance to the finals.

In the girls' pole vault, Menlo-Atherton sophomore Kathryn Mohr cleared 11-3 while tying for 14th.

Palo Alto sophomore Eli Givens, the CCS champ, clocked a wind-legal 10.85 while finishing 18th overall in the boys' 100. He needed to run 10.68 to reach the finals. No CCS runners reached the finals.

Givens returned in the 200 and clocked 22.24 while finishing 23rd out of 24 runners. He needed to run 21.53 to make the finals.

In the girls' 100, Gunn's Pennywell clocked a school record of 12.09 while finishing 16th overall. She needed to run 11.89 to reach the finals.

In the girls' 1,600 relay, Menlo-Atherton's team of Miranda Simes, Annie Harrier, Jordan Olesen and Annalisa Crowe finished fifth in its heat in 4:00.38 and did not advance.

In the boys' 1,600 relay, Palo Alto's team of Givens, Charlie Badger, Dami Bolarinwa and Sullivan finished seventh in its heat in 3:28.87 and did not advance.

A total of 18 local athletes competed at the state meet.

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