Gunn High track and field coach PattiSue Plumer had to make a strategic decision on Friday at the 39th annual Stanford Invitational at Cobb Track & Angell Field.
Plumer could have her best runner, senior Sarah Robinson, compete in the 3,000 for individual honors or run on distance medley relay team and take a shot at a record.
Plumer decided to focus on the team.
"It turned out to be a great decision," Plumer said. "We're very happy."
Plumer and her team of sophomore Gillian Meeks, sophomore Maya Miklos, junior Emily Aiken and Robinson had good reason to smile after winning the distance medley relay in 11:56.68. Not only did the time improve upon their previous state lead of 12:06.81, but it was the fastest outdoor time in the nation this season.
The previous national outdoor best was 11:59.37 by Marcus High of Flower Mound, Texas. Davis High also was under the previous lead with a second place of 11:56.90. The time also broke the previous Gunn school record of 12:04 that featured a team with Robinson's sister, Erin.
"Our goal was to break 12:00 today," said Plumer, whose team missed the U.S. indoor lead of 11:43.9 by West High of Springfield, Va. In fact, there are six faster indoor times than Gunn's outdoor mark.
"I will take the OUTDOOR leading mark," Plumer said. "Did you feel the wind out there today? I am certain we would have run faster indoors!
"I think that's really exciting," said Robinson said of the national-leading time. She anchored the team with a 4:49 split for her 1,600 leg.
Robinson actually was overtaken coming off the final turn and had to turn it on over the final 100 meters.
"I got pushed," said Robinson. "When I run from behind I run my best. Today it definitely helped."
"I haven't seen her finish like that," said Plumer, who rarely sees Robinson ever trailing in a race. "I couldn't be happier . . . very pleased for her that she was able to do that."
Plumer never envisioned taking the national lead, nor did she know what it was coming in.
"I didn't really care," Plumer said. "I'm sure next week at Arcadia they'll go faster."
Speaking of Arcadia, another invitational that often attracts some of the nation's best athletes, Robinson will have a decision to make on her participation.
She may run in the 3,200 meters on Saturday night against the top runners in the state and nation, or she may be playing soccer with her club team on the weekend. She has until Monday night to make her decision.
Robinson will play soccer for the Stanford women in the fall.
Elsewhere on Friday:
The Menlo-Atherton girls finished sixth overall in the distance medley relay with the team of senior Taylor Fortnam, senior Annie Harrier, sophomore Cat DuPuy and sophomore Annalisa Crowe clocking 12:44.36.
Gunn's Miklos, meanwhile, finished second overall in a field of 32 runners in the 400 hurdles as she clocked 1:01.63.