Robert Miranda would rather not hear anyone wishing him good luck by facetiously telling him to break a leg.
Miranda suffered a broken left ankle shortly before the 2016 cross country season was about to begin, an injury that caused him to sit out his entire junior season. And like many distance runners, cross country is a sport he enjoys even more than track and field.
So it was a painful absence in more ways than one. And now it’s all about making up for missed time.
Miranda, a senior at Menlo School, competed in his first cross country meet since he was a sophomore Saturday and took first place in his race at the Lowell Invitational at Golden Gate Park with a time of 14:35.3, the third-fastest time overall. His average mile pace was 4:58.7.
“It’s nice to be back,’’ Miranda said. “It was a tough experience being out, but also a learning experience. I helped out the coaches.’’
The foggy and cool conditions at the Lowell Invite were ideal for a first race back.
“It wasn’t a great morning to go to the beach, but for cross country it was almost perfect,’’ Miranda said.
Even without a junior cross country season, Miranda went on to win the Central Coast Section 3,200-meter championship in track with a time of 9:10.26. So it will be interesting to see what he can do in track as a senior with the additional conditioning provided by cross country.
“I guess with cross country I’ll be unstoppable,’’ Miranda said, half-joking.
Gunn’s Joyce Shea took second in her race with a time of 17:10.9.
“She’s been getting in a lot of good training over the summer and I wanted to get her in a race situation again,’’ Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer said. “Every year she’s gotten better and stronger. I think she’s going to have a good season.’’
Shea’s forte is her strength and endurance. Plumer sees her as a 5K and 10K runner in college.
“She loves to train and be part of the team,’’ Plumer said. “That she’s good at it, to her, is just a bonus.’’
Gunn placed fifth as a team with a total time of 1:36.57. Menlo-Atherton came in 10th in the other varsity girls race at 1:39.19.
The Menlo-Atherton boys also registered a 10th-place team finish in 1:20.18.