Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 11, 2014

Price runs to new level

Menlo School grad joins Stanford athletes at World Juniors

by Keith Peters

It was only a year ago that Maddy Price suffered the disappointment of not being able to represent Canada at the 2013 Pan Am Junior Track and Field Championships. Needing a top-two finish in the women's 400 meters to earn a trip to Colombia, Price finished third at the Canadian trials.

Rather than concern herself with what might have been, Price used her senior year at Menlo School to reach the goal she had just missed and to achieve others.

Price's goals included winning the 200 and 400 meters at the Central Coast Section Championships for a second straight year, win the state title at 400 meters and win her specialty at the 2014 Canadian Junior Championships.

Other than finishing second at the CIF State Meet, Price achieved all of her goals. The last one came Saturday as she won the Canadian junior title with a lifetime best of 53.20 and earned a trip to the IAAF World Junior Championships, July 22-27 in Eugene, Ore.

"I have always believed that competing for your country is one of the greatest honors for any athlete," said Price, whose parents are native Canadians and who now has dual citizenship. "Making the Canadian Junior National team is the fulfillment of a dream of mine that I have work towards over many years.

"Missing making the team and going to the Pan American Games last year by a couple hundredths propelled my training this year. I wouldn't be in the position I am this week without the dedication of (coaches) Mark Mueller and Jorge Chen."

Chen, who coached Price during the school year and at the club level for a number of years, missed seeing Price win the Canadian junior title in Ste-Therese, Quebec, as he was coaching the Menlo iGreyhounds at a Junior Olympic qualifying meet in Southern California.

"It's hard for me not to be there for her," said Chen, "but I've been in constant contact with her through text messaging mostly. Every (club) meet this summer is at the same time with Maddy's. I miss being there for her but, at the same time, I'm right there in spirit and she knows I'm there. I was in tears when she did it, as I was in the middle of coaching at the (JO) regionals at Hanford High School. Maddy even texted me back and told me that WE DID IT . . . and she was so kind, as always, and asked me how the Menlo iGreyhounds kids were doing, as that's how things began for her."

Chen recalled how, in the summer following eighth grade, Price finished 10th in the 400 finals at the USATF Junior Olympic Nationals at Sacramento City College. Price ran a big personal record. The only thing that has changed for Price are her times and places.

She saved her best race of the year for the 400 finals in Canada.

"The race itself was incredibly satisfying because I felt as if I executed on the day that counted the most and ran my PR of 53.20," said Price, who'll compete for Duke in the fall. "Beyond the time and the win, I am most proud of the fact that this was my most intelligent race; I was able to stay relaxed and trust myself, even when a few girls got out on me on the back straight.

"I can't wait to meet athletes from all over the world (in Eugene) and just take in the experience of competing on the world stage. I am just so excited to be wearing that Canada jersey."

In addition to running the open 400, Price most likely will run a leg on Canada's 1,600-meter relay team, as well. She missed out qualifying in the 200 after finishing sixth on Sunday in 25.18 after running 24.65 in the prelims earlier in the day. Had she matched her prelim time in the finals, Price would have won.

Price isn't the only athlete with Menlo ties who'll be wearing Canadian colors thus summer. Her younger sister Nikky, who'll be a junior at Menlo this fall, recently made the Canadian Junior National Team in lacrosse and will be practicing with the team in October, in preparation for the Junior World Championships in 2015.

A busy time for the Price household, indeed.

While Price was earning her trip for the Junior Worlds, four athletes with Stanford ties were doing likewise at the USATF Junior National Track and Field Championships in Eugene this past weekend.

Stanford sophomore Valarie Allman captured the women's discus title and former teammate Megan Glasmann won the women's javelin crown on Sunday, while incoming freshmen Elise Cranny (1,500) and Olivia Baker (400) finished second. Joining them in Eugene will be incoming freshman Harrison Williams, who won the USATF junior men's decathlon title the previous week.

Allman, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, won with a personal-best throw of 188-6. She improved upon her Stanford freshman record on her first throw to win by 14 feet. She remains at No. 3 on Stanford's all-time list, improving on her previous frosh record of 187-7. The throw ranks her No. 1 among world juniors.

"This is my third time at juniors," said Allman. "I started doing track & field my sophomore year of high school. My coach took me to juniors and it completely opened my eyes to what throwing could be like. I had no idea that it was something I could pursue after high school.

"Last year was a tough year and it didn't go as I was hoping but, after talking to my coach and my family, I realized there was a lot that I could learn from the experience. It was a long wait to be able to go from that time to here now, but it was it was worth every moment of the training and the lifting."

Glasmann repeated the junior national title she first won as a high school senior in Park City, Utah. Glasmann's top throw of 175-0 was a season best by more than 10 feet and places her No. 2 on both the Stanford all-time and freshman lists, behind current three-time All-America Brianna Bain.

Glasmann, however, recently left school after dealing with injuries this season.

"I thought going into college I would continue to thrive and I found going to Stanford wasn't the best fit for me," Glasmann said. "I was released several weeks ago and I came to this meet unattached. I actually had a stress injury in my foot, so I took some time off and came into this meet just hoping to hit a good mark. It was incredible being out there and feeling like I was me again.

"I was out to prove something to myself, to my family, and to everyone out there, but mostly myself. I had felt like I was losing the sport because it was the wrong rhythm for me all this year. Coming out here and feeling one again, just the javelin and me, no longer the javelin as one thing and I'm throwing it. Just going down the runway and it releases and you watch it and it's like wow!"

Baker, the nation's top recruit in the girls' 400 meters, finished second in 52.46 to earn a return trip to Oregon. Her time set a New Jersey state prep record, breaking the mark of 52.56 set in 1998 by Olympian Mikele Barber.

"I feel awesome. This was the goal," Baker said. "I really wanted to come and make the team and it's especially a bonus getting to run an individual event and not just getting to run a relay. So now I get the opportunity to compete and run an individual race and a relay."

Also finishing second was Cranny, who clocked 4:17.40 in the women's 1,500. She, too, is a No. 1 national recruit.

"I thought it was a good race, (winner) Alexa (Efraimson) really changed her pace in the last 400. I think I should have tried to go a little sooner. I waited too long and the last 100 she (Efraimson) just had another gear. I think that if I would have changed gears sooner it might have been a little closer in the last 100."

Cranny ranks among the all-time prep girls in the 1,500, along with Efraimson and national recordholder Mary Cain.

"All of us owe a lot to Mary (Cain). I don't think Alexa and I would be running that fast, because I think that she showed us that we can run faster," Cranny said. "It keeps going down the line and inspires everyone."

Also placing second was incoming freshman Rachel Reichenbach out of Foothill High in Pleasanton. Reichenbach cleared a liftime best of 5-8 3/4 in the high jump. Though the top two in each event earn the right to advance to Junior Worlds, Reichenbach has not achieved the qualifying standard of 5-11 1/2.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Stanford's Thomas Coyle was fourth in the men's 1,500 in 3:52.94 and Gunn High grad Kieran Gallagher of Harvard finished eighth in the women's 1,500 in 4:38.94.

At the Canadian Junior Championships, in Ste-Therese, Quebec, Stanford's Victoria Smith was fourth in the women's javelin at 143-8.

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