State medalists have different summer plans | June 7, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 7, 2013

State medalists have different summer plans

by Keith Peters

After following the same path during the season while setting records and earning medals at the 2013 CIF State Track and Field Championships, juniors Sarah Robinson of Gunn and Maddy Price of Menlo School will have quite different summers.

Robinson, after finishing third in the 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200 in her first state finals last Saturday at Buchanan High in Clovis, will put her track shoes away and concentrate on soccer.

"Since the state meet ended on a high note, I don't think I will do any summer meets," Robinson said. "I think I will focus on soccer and still do some training. I will eventually begin prepping for cross country. Right now, (head coach) PattiSue (Plumer) and I are creating a training schedule for the summer months."

While she will continue to run during workouts, Robinson will spend much of her "vacation" playing for her Mountain View/Los Altos Lightning club soccer team. The highlight of the summer will be a trip to Aurora, Colo., for the ECNL Regionals.

"For the remainder of the club soccer season, she is going to be a soccer player," Plumer said of Robinson, who has verbally committed to play soccer at Stanford. "Once that is over, she and I will sit down to plan out the cross-country season."

Price, who finished sixth in the girls' 400 meters (54.94) in her first appearance in the state finals, will continue to run track.

First up will be a couple of qualifying meets for the National Junior Olympics, June 21-22 at Chabot College in Hayward and July 5-6 at Diablo Valley College in Concord.

Price then will travel to Sainte-Therese, Quebec and will compete at the Canadian Junior Track and Field Championships (July 12-14) in an attempt to make the team for the Junior Pan American Games in Colombia in August. Price's parents are both from Canada (mom Toronto, dad Ottawa). She has an application for dual citizenship currently being processed.

Price will run both the 200 and 400 and could have as many as six races. She'll then return home for a short stay before heading off to the JO Nationals (July 22-28) in Greensboro, N.C. Again, she could be facing as many as six races.

Price ran three times at the state meet, failing to advance in the 200 on Friday but running 55.15 in the 400 prelims — the No. 2 qualifying time — to reach for Saturday's finals. There she finished sixth in 54.94, the second-fastest time in her life — second only to the 54.78 that won her the Central Coast Section title.

The top qualifier, Nia Dorner of Cordova, made good on her top seed by pulling away in the final to win in a state-leading 53.00.

Price also was passed on the homestretch by Elissa Bryant of Piedmont Hills, who lost to Price at the CCS finals. Bryant finished third on Saturday in a CCS-leading 54.64.

"She is crushed," Menlo coach Jorge Chen said of Price after the race. "(But) We are still really proud of her for coming from not even making the finals last year to dropping almost three seconds from a year ago to a podium finish and going under 55.00 twice this year.

"But, all that won't matter to Maddy since she's a fierce competitor. But, when she takes some time to let her season sink in, I'm sure she'll feel better."

Price finished her prep season ranked No. 6 in the state, but as the No. 1 junior. She was one of only six runners under 55 seconds this season and now ranks No. 12 on the CCS all-time list.

Robinson, meanwhile, finished her season ranked No. 3 in the state in the 1,600 (4.47.58 converted) and No. 6 in the 3,200 (a school record of 10:26.65). Those times rank her No. 9 and No. 8, respectively, on the CCS all-time list.

"I thought that, overall, my first state meet went really well," Robinson said. "For the 1,600, I was trying to run as conservative as possible. On the last lap, I really gave it everything I had, almost catching (winner) Anna (Maxwell)."

Robinson was in fourth place with one lap to go, but made a move with 250 left and took over second. The gap between Robinson and Maxwell was too great, however. Robinson made a valiant attempt to catch Maxwell on the homestretch, but was passed by Nikki Hiltz of Aptos with less than 10 meters left.

Maxwell won in 4:47.36 with Hiltz second in 4:48.07 and Robinson third in 4:48.37. The order of finish was perhaps appropriate since the three ranked No. 1, 2 and 3 in the state, respectively, coming into the meet.

"After the 1,600, my legs were fatigued," Robinson said. "But, I decided to run the 3,200. I was happy I did because I PR'd and placed on the podium."

Robinson became the first Gunn girl to bring two medals home from the state final.

"I was very proud of her for so many reasons," said Plumer. "She took a chance in the 1,600, going with a lap and trying to catch Anna. It almost worked. She gave it everything she had. I really wasn't sure she would be physically capable of running the 3,200, especially given the (hot) weather. She couldn't even 'warm down' for over 30 minutes.

"But, then, Danielle Katz from Los Gatos made her run with her, and then after a little more rest and ice and cold towels, she wanted to do it. Fingers crossed, I agreed. And then she went out and PR'd!! Our goal for her in that race was to get on the podium (top six). I am very happy and think she did an awesome job."

Heavily favored Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley won easily in 10:10.71 for her third straight state title while SLV's Maxwell added a second medal in this meet with a third-place finish of 10:25.68.

Robinson's time of 10:26.65 was the No. 2 non-winning state meet time in CCS history in addition to being the fastest fifth-place time at the state meet by a CCS girl.

While Robinson and Price earned medals on Saturday, four other local athletes did not advance out of Friday's prelims.

Sacred Heart Prep senior Nico Robinson missed out on both his events, the 110 high hurdles and long jump. He ran 14.61 in his heat and finished 14th overall. The final qualifier ran 14.34, which matches Robinson's best. Robinson ran in the same heat as Bellarmine's Jalen Wright, the state leader who finished second in 14.12. Only the top two runners moved on.

Robinson also missed out in the long jump as he reached only 21-4 3/4 — his first attempt. He also jumped 20-6 1/2 and 20-0 1/2 after qualifying for the state meet with a lifetime best of 22-10. Had he matched that mark, Robinson would have been jumping on Saturday.

Also in the same event, Palo Alto senior Victor Du came up short as he reached only 21-2 1/2 after winning the CCS title last week with a PR of 23-4. Du has been limited to only seven jumps total in his final five meets due to an injured left heel. His other jumps Friday included a foul and a 21-0 3/4 mark.

Palo Alto junior Nick Sullivan missed advancing in the 400 when he was disqualified for a lane violation after running on the lane line three times. He needed to run 48.18 in heat to earn one of two berths and advance. He did run a personal best of 48.40.

"He ran great," said Paly coach Jason Fung, "but it doesn't help if you get disqualified. I told Nick you have to run 47s and low 48s to make the finals."

Gunn's Maya Miklos, the only freshman in the girls' 300 hurdles field, finished fourth in her heat and 15th overall in 44.40. It was the second-fastest time of her life and the second-fastest time in school history, but she needed a 43.22 to reach the finals. Her personal best is 43.39 from CCS.

"She ran a really strong race, and knows that she has lots of room for improvement," Plumer said. "It was very exciting for her to be there, quite an accomplishment and a great education."

In the boys' 1,600 relay, Palo Alto's team of Jayshawn Gates, Eli Givens, Dami Bolarinwa and Sullivan suffered a disqualification for another lane violation. Sullivan led off and again was caught running on the lane line. Givens ran second with Gates third and Bolarinwa anchoring. Both Givens and Bolarinwa are freshmen. All three CCS teams had to run in Lane 9.

"Small fish, big pond," said Fung. "It wasn't a good day."

Except for Sarah Robinson and Maddy Price.


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