Two memorable high school track careers are coming down to their final hours as seniors Maddy Price of Menlo School and Sarah Robinson of Gunn prepare for their final races at the CIF State Track and Field Championships.
They are among 18 local athletes who will be competing at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High in Clovis this weekend. The weather will be hot, with temperatures expected to reach 101 for Friday trials and 104 for Saturday's finals.
Getting loose for events will not be an issue.
Both Price and Robinson have rewritten their school's record books during their standout careers. Both have left their marks on the Central Coast Section all-time list with Price No. 2 in the 400 (53.43) and Robinson No. 4 in the 1,600 (4:44.07) and No. 5 in the 3,200 (10:16.98).
Currently, Price is No. 4 in the nation in the 400 while Robinson is No. 4 in the 1,600. Price is No. 2 in the state while Robinson is No. 3 in addition to ranking seventh in the 3,200.
The two, however, have brought more to their sport than just numbers.
"Not only is Maddy a 400/200 runner, as you can see, she's a shot putter, hurdler, cross country runner, along with a basketball, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball player along with motorbike rider, swimmer, and the list goes on," said Menlo coach Jorge Chen. "Maddy is what I call a pure athlete, and if I dare say it a 'phenom' who not only is athletic but fiercely competitive.
"But, at the same time, what people don't notice about Maddy is that she has a huge heart and is an awesome teammate since the past seasons she's been doing multiple events in order to score points for Menlo School for the TEAM (since I always tell parents/kids that at Menlo, Track is a TEAM sport). Maddy is the best athlete at Menlo in the past decade and I'm lucky and honored to be her coach."
Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer says she, too, is fortunate to have been able to coach an athlete like Robinson.
"I will likely never work with an athlete like her again," said Plumer, who was a nine-time All-American at Stanford and a two-time Olympian and obviously knows a great athlete when she sees one. "(She's) light years ahead of me at this stage.
"Just look at the Gunn record board. It is populated by girls who have gone on to run D1 in college. Now, Sarah has the school records in three events, plus cross country, plus several meet records, and is on the board in 400 and would likely make the board in the 200 and 300 hurdles if she had been given the chance. And she did this while playing soccer and going to a highly competitive, stressful public high school."
Price and Robinson can add to their legacies this weekend as both seek their first state title. Price's best opportunity will be in the 400, where she finished sixth last year. Since then, she made it a goal to win the state crown. She'll need to beat freshman Kaelin Roberts of Long Beach Poly to achieve that goal.
Robinson was third in the 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200 last year. She could improve upon both finishes, with the 1,600 perhaps being her best shot at a gold. Robinson's school record and personal best of 4:44.07 from finishing second to state leader Anna Maxwell at the CCS Championships last Friday gives her the No. 2 seed behind Maxwell's 4:43.82.
In the 3,200, the four runners who finished ahead of Robinson last year are gone. Defending champ Sarah Baxter is injured and Maxwell (third in 2013) dropped the event before CCS. Two others graduated. Senior Bethan Knights of Northwood in Irvine is the odds-on-favorite with her top qualifying time of 9:54.89.
Joining Robinson and Price from the local area will be Palo Alto's 1,600 relay team of Nick Sullivan (also in 400), Eli Givens (also in 100 and 200), Charlie Badger and Dami Bolarinwa; Menlo-Atherton's 1,600 relay team of Annalisa Crowe, Annie Harrier, Miranda Simes and Jordan Olesen plus pole vaulter Kathryn Mohr; Menlo School's Paul Touma (triple jump); plus Gunn's 400 relay team of Amy Chen, Robin Peter, Maya Miklos (also in 300 hurdles) and Jenae Pennywell (also in 100); plus teammates Gillian Meeks (3,200) and Adriana Noronha (shot put, discus).
The trials begin with field events at 3 p.m., followed by running at 5 p.m. Saturday, field events open at 4:30 p.m. with running at 6 p.m.
LOCAL ENTRANTS IN CIF STATE MEET
Girls 400 relay -- Gunn (Chen, Peter, Pennywell, Miklos) No. 25 seed
Girls 1,600 -- Robinson (Gunn) No. 2 seed
Girls 400 -- Price (Menlo) No. 4 seed
Boys 400 -- N. Sullivan (Palo Alto) No. 20 seed
Girls 100 -- Pennywell (Gunn) No. 16 seed
Boys 100 -- Givens (Palo Alto) No. 12 seed
Girls 300 hurdles -- Miklos (Gunn) No. 11 seed
Girls 200 -- Price (Menlo) No. 11 seed
Boys 200 -- Givens (Palo Alto) No. 24 seed
Girls 3,200 -- Robinson (Gunn) No. 12 seed; Meeks (Gunn) No. 18 seed
Girls 1,600 relay -- Menlo-Atherton (Harrier, Simes, Olesen, Crowe) No. 21 seed
Boys 1,600 relay -- Palo Alto (Givens, Badger, Bolarinwa, N. Sullivan) No. 22 seed
Girls shot put -- Noronha (Gunn) No. 23 seed
Girls discus -- Noronha (Gunn) No. 19 seed
Boys triple jump -- Touma (Menlo) No. 17 seed
Girls pole vault -- Mohr (Menlo-Atherton) No. 10 seed