Gunn High junior Sarah Robinson expects to be playing soccer for the Stanford women's team starting in the fall of 2014, but the Cardinal track coaches might want to make her a two-sport athlete after watching her compete at the annual Stanford Invitational on Saturday.
Competing in the girls' mile at Cobb Track & Angell Field, Robinson finished second, set a school record and ran one of the fastest times in the nation this season.
Just two days after competing in a SCVAL De Anza Division dual-meet win over Mountain View, Robinson blazed to a 4:49.26 time while finishing second. That time, which converts to 4:47.58 for 1,600 meters, broke the 1982 Gunn record of 4:54.85 that Esther Berndt ran in the CIF State Meet finals.
Robinson improved upon her previous best of 5:00.34 set last year while moving to No. 2 in the nation this season in the mile and No. 3 in the country in the 1,600, based on times listed on dyestat.com. She now also ranks No. 10 all-time in the Central Coast Section.
"Sarah had an awesome race," said Gunn first-year coach PattiSue Plumer, a former All-American runner at Stanford and former assistant coach there. "We knew that it would be fast, and she executed the race plan perfectly.
"We were both thrilled that she broke 4:50 in the mile. I felt confident that she was capable of racing that fast this season, but wasn't sure that it would be today. This is the first competitive race she has been in this season, and I am very pleased with how she rose to the challenge."
Despite her fast time, Robinson isn't the fastest in the CCS this season. That honor goes to Anna Maxwell of San Lorenzo Valley, who won Saturday's race in 4:47.01. Maxwell leads the nation in the mile and ranks No. 2 in the country in the 1,600 with her converted time.
The Palo Alto boys' 400 relay team and Sacred Heart Prep senior Nico Robinson do have CCS-leading times and both made significant improvements during Saturday's second day of the meet.
The Vikings' quartet of Matt Tolbert, Jayshawn Gates, Michael Johnson and Nick Sullivan finished third in 42.31, a season best and the fastest in the section this season. Castro Valley won Saturday's race in 41.85, No. 3 in the state, with De La Salle was second in 42.00 (No. 5 in the state).
Paly, which ranks No. 14 in the state now, had equaled its CCS-leading time of 42.53 in the prelims.
Sullivan returned to the track for the open 400 and produced the fastest time of his life, 48.67, while finishing fourth overall. Sullivan's time helped him win the second heat and lowered his previous CCS-leading time of 49.63.
Sullivan now ranks No. 2 in Paly history, behind the 47.74 run by Rod M. Green at the 1980 AAU Junior Nationals.
SHP's Robinson, meanwhile, continued his busy week by finishing third in the boys' 110 high hurdles in 14.90. That lowered his previous CCS leader from 14.94. On Friday, Robinson unleashed his best long jump of the season (22-8 1/2) while finishing fifth. He also took sixth in the 400 intermediate hurdles while running it for the first time.
Earlier in the week, Robinson won three events while helping the Gators win a West Bay Athletic League meet. One of the three wins was a 22-6 1/2 mark in the long jump.
Robinson's teammate, Cameron Van, also saw improvement Saturday as he recorded a 6-2 1/2 mark in the high jump while taking seventh.
Menlo School junior Maddy Price also had a season best as she clocked 57.27 while finishing fifth overall in the girls' 400. That moved her to No. 3 in the CCS this season.
The Stanford Invitational saw four U.S.-leading marks this past weekend. In addition to Maxwell's in the girls' mile -- the top five finishers now rank 1-2-3-4-5 in the nation -- the meet saw Nate Moore of Castro Valley leap a U.S. best of 48-11 1/2 in the boys' triple jump, Madeline Fagan of Los Gatos jump a co-best 5-10 3/4 in the girls' high jump and Yohaness Estifanos of Milpitas run the fastest boys' 3,000 (8:29.78) in the country.