Whatever plans Maddy Price has for the remainder of the 2014 track and field season, she's probably already ahead of schedule to achieve those goals.
The Menlo School senior raised the bar of expectations on Saturday as she took over the No. 2 spot in the girls' 400 in Central Coast Section history by clocking a personal best of 53.43 at the annual Arcadia Invitational.
Menlo School senior Maddy Price is now No. 2 all-time in the CCS in the 400 meters. Photo by John Hale.
The previous national leader was 53.49 indoors by Olivia Baker of Columbia High in Maplewood, N.J.
"I kind of had mixed emotions when I crossed the finish line and saw my time," Price said. "Obviously, I was disappointed I got second. But, the goal was to run under 54 (seconds) and getting it by a lot made me really happy."
"Maddy's race was phenomenal and that was evident by her big PR (1.26 secs) at this level," said Menlo coach Jorge Chen. "That really shows that she still has more boom in her! We can't be disappointed at a second-place finish like this since Maddy's time would've easily won this event last year and I mean easily. I give props to Roberts and her coaches as she came out of nowhere on this field and the race itself."
Price also surpassed Christina Hardeman of Wilcox (53.72 in 2002) on the all-time CCS list and now trails only Leslie Maxie of Mills, who ran 52.83 in 1984. Maxie competed at the 1984 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Los Angeles in the 400 hurdles, just missing the USA team.
"This race was good for Maddy not only time-wise but also it'll keep her hungry for State," said Chen. "After the race I asked Maddy her thoughts and she told me that she didn't hear anyone coming up on her at all on the 300-meter mark since, unfortunately, she was in Lane 8 and two lanes inside of her were empty. But, again, at State this will not happen as Roberts will probably be near, if not next to Maddy.
"This time was a result of her hard work during the offseason and competing indoors. Maddy will continue to surprise people as she's really focused, determined, and confident to return to the State finals and, this time, it'll be a brand new ball game."
Price also took second place in the 200 in 24.52, just shy of her PR of 24.47, which she ran this season indoors. Kaysha Love, a sophomore from Herriman, Utah, won the race in 24.11.
Price is the defending CCS champ in both the 400 and 200, but is also experimenting with the 300 hurdles this season. She finished sixth in the 400 at the 2013 CIF State Meet.
Elsewhere at Arcadia, Gunn sophomore Gillian Meeks was sixth in the seeded heat of the girls' 3,200 with a personal best of 10:47.45. That ranks her No. 4 in school history and puts her ahead of where current school record-holder Sarah Robinson was her sophomore year.
Finishing in fifth was Lauren Jacob of Los Altos in 10:45.99.
In the boys' invitational triple jump, Menlo's Paul Touma was seventh coming out of the preliminary finals with a mark of 44-11 3/4.
Less than 24 hours after Friday's heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Sacred Heart Prep, Menlo-Atherton rebounded with a 6-3 nonleague victory at Los Altos on Saturday afternoon. The win improved M-A's overall record to 11-5.
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the third inning, M-A responded with two runs to tie the game, then scored two more in the fourth inning to take the lead for good. After Los Altos cut the Bears' advantage to 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth, M-A added two important insurance runs in the top of the seventh to put the game away.
Starting pitcher Kodiak Conrad earned his second win of the season against one loss, scattering five hits over the first six innings. The junior left-hander struck out four and walked three while surrendering three runs. Conrad now sports a 2.58 ERA for the season in 21 2/3 innings pitched. Senior Erik Amundson relieved Conrad in the bottom of the seventh, retiring Los Altos 1-2-3 on just eight pitches to notch the save, his first of the season.
M-A generated a total of six hits from six different players: DH Brett Moriarty, second baseman Lawson Joos, Amundson, catcher Daniel Kollar-Gasiewski, and shortstop Jordan Long. Long also walked twice and scored two runs.
M-A returns to PAL Bay Division action on Monday at Half Moon Bay at 4 p.m. The Bears (3-2) currently trail first-place Menlo (4-2) and Terra Nova (4-2) by a half-game in the standings.
In other nonleague games, Palo Alto dropped an 8-4 decision to visiting College Park and Sacred Heart Prep fell to visiting Lowell of San Francisco, 2-1.
Paly (10-8) was seeking its fourth win of the week, but gave up five runs in the first two innings. Jack Cleasby had a triple for the Vikings.
In Atherton, five SHP pitchers combined on a two-hitter, but it still wasn't enough for the Gators (10-7). SHP gave up two runs in the first two innings before Alec Bradford, Ben Ferkol, John Bird and John Van Sweden blanked the visitors over the next five innings.
Reed Merritt of Palo Alto and Vivian Zhou of Gunn both finished second in their respective divisions at the annual Palo Alto Diving Invitational.
Merritt scored 474.70 on his 11 dives to trail only defending CCS champion Colin Zeng of King's Academy (631.95). Zhou scored 454.70 to just miss overtaking champion Gabby Ramil of St. Francis (454.90).
Gunn's Jason Steinberg (310.55) was fourth in the boys' competition while Marisa Agarwal of Gunn (401.05) was fourth in the girls' meet.