Gunn's Gillian Meeks spent her sophomore season of cross country watching teammate Sarah Robinson run to multiple victories. Meeks, most often, was right behind.
Robinson is now playing soccer at Stanford and Meeks has assumed her leadership role with the Titans. That was evident once again as Meeks duplicated Robinson's feat of last season at the annual Stanford Invitational on Saturday.
Like Robinson in 2013, Meeks ran to victory in the Division I girls' race, racing over the 3.1-mile layout at the Stanford Golf Course in 17:42 while averaging 5:42 per mile.
Last year, Robinson won in 18:15 and Meeks was fourth in 18:54. Gunn finished third as a team. On Saturday, the effort by Meeks and her teammates got the Titans second place with 117 points.
Meeks held off Cupertino freshman Caroline Gee, a close second in 17:43. Gee had beaten Meeks by three seconds on Tuesday at the first SCVAL meet of the season.
"Gillian had a great race against great competition," said Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer, who used to run on the same course during her All-American days at Stanford. "I think she is in charge of defining her own career and not me.
"With most the athletes I work with, including Gillian, we focus on having the best race they can and then no matter what happens they have to be proud of themselves. I knew Gillian would do well, but we really didn't focus on winning as much as solid race execution."
With all six divisions combined (including one seeded race), Meeks ranked No. 6. She also was No. 1 among CCS runners and No. 4 for NorCal. The top overall time belonged to Davis junior Fiona O'Keeffe, who ran 16:39.8.
Gunn senior Emily Aiken was ninth in 18:53, sophomore Illi Gardner was 19th in 19:23, freshman Emma Chiao took 36th in 19:49 and sophomore Claire Hu was 59th in 20:13 to wrap up the Titans' scoring.
The Palo Alto girls were 14th in the Division I race as the Vikings were led by sophomore Maddie Feldmeier's 19:56, good for 45th.
The Menlo-Atherton girls finished 16th with juniors Madeleine Baier (19:39) and Katie Beebe (19:39) taking 26th and 27th, respectively.
In the Division I boys' race, Palo Alto senior Lucas Matison continued his strong early season by racing to fifth overall in 15:47. The senior was the No. 2 runner from the Central Coast Section, as well as No. 2 among NorCal runners. His effort helped the Vikings finish 17th in the team race.
Menlo-Atherton was 25th and Gunn finished 29th.
The next-highest local runner was Menlo School's Lizzie Lacy, who finished second in the Division III girls' race in 17:58, more than a minute faster than last year in the same race. She also finished 13th overall in all divisions.
Menlo normally runs in Division IV, but the division was full when Menlo coach Jorge Chen registered his team. Thus, the only option was to move up to D-3. Lacy nonetheless ran a personal best by over a minute.
"She could have run faster, but (winner) Chloe (Hansel) was way ahead and the third-place runner was well behind," explained Chen. "Thus, Lizzie was running by herself."
Meanwhile, Pinewood senior Nicole Colonna finished eighth in the Division V girls' race in 19:06. Teammate Helena Merk was 20th in 19:58.
Priory senior Ross Corey was 14th in the Division V boys' race, clocking 16:47.
In the Division IV boys' race, Sacred Heart Prep senior Daniel Hill was 18th in 15:58 to pace the Gators to 11th place out of 37 teams.
In the Division III boys' race, Robert Miranda paced Menlo's effort by taking 34th in 16:31.