Gunn's Meeks runs to fifth in 1,600 at the state track finals


Gunn High senior Gillian Meeks had been on the podium before, accepting a gold medal for winning the Division II title at the 2015 CIF State Cross Country Championships in the fall.

Meeks wanted to get on the medal stand one more time before heading off to Harvard, and she got her wish Saturday at the CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High in Clovis.

Competing in the finals of the girls' 1,600 meters and against some familiar faces from cross country, Meeks registered her second school record in as many days while finishing fifth.

Meeks clocked a personal best of 4:50.44, improving upon her 4:50.72 from Friday's prelims. It kept Meeks No. 1 in the Central Coast Section this season and No. 2 in Northern California. It was a big step up for Meeks, who was 12th in this race last year.

"Her goal was the podium and she made it, even though she came in ranked 16th," said Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer. "She had terrific races both nights and PR'd both days, especially impressive given the heat."

State leader Amanda Gehrich of Tesoro defended her title with a 4:45.51. Meeks defeated Gehrich in the state cross-country finals.

The effort by Meeks was satisfying enough that she dropped the 3,200 later on the hot evening at Memorial Stadium.

"Ultimately, the heat got to her and she felt unable to recover for the 3,200," said Plumer, "especially since it was still pushing 90 (degrees) when the race went off."

The metric two-miler was won by Stanford-bound Fiona O'Keeffe of Davis in 10:12.02.

Meeks was one of three Gunn athletes who wrapped up their seasons on Saturday. Senior Amy Watt won her second individual "Paralympian" event, taking the mixed 200 in 28.0.

Gunn junior Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich cleared 6-6 in the high jump to finish eighth in his first-ever appearance at the state meet. Darius Carbin of Mt. Pleasant won the event at 7 feet.

Palo Alto senior Eli Givens, competing in his first 100-meter finals, wound up ninth in 10.92 after running a PR of 10.73 to qualify. He was the only CCS runner in the field. TJ Brock of Chaminade won the race in 10.43.

The fifth and final local athlete who reached the finals was Menlo-Atherton senior Kathryn Mohr. With the starting height in the girls' pole vault at 11-8, Mohr missed all three heights.

Rachel Baxter of Canyon won with a state meet record of 14-2, breaking the previous mark of 14-1 by Castilleja's Tori Anthony in 2007. Stanford-bound Erika Malaspina of Pacific Collegiate tied for second at 13-8.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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