Scorching conditions didn’t stop Gunn High runner Sarah Robinson from setting a scorching pace at last weekend’s state track and field meet.
The Los Altos Hills resident won the 1,600-meter run in 4 minutes, 44.25 seconds and placed second in the 3,200 with a school-record time of 10:12.40 in the finals at Buchanan High in Clovis, where the temperature nearly hit triple digits Saturday.
Running a single distance race in such conditions seems hard enough, but doing another approximately two hours later – something only a handful of competitors attempted Saturday – could prove downright daunting.
Robinson, however, found a way to beat the heat.
“It was a challenge,” she said, “but I just tried to stay hydrated to help me recover between races.”
After coming so close to her best time in the 1,600 – Robinson ran 0.3 seconds faster a week earlier at the Central Coast Section championships – she broke her own school record in the 3,200 by four seconds later that evening.
Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer described Robinson’s efforts as “simply amazing” in “extremely tough conditions.”
Robinson is the first Gunn girl to finish second or better in both distance races in the same year. It’s been 31 years since any girl from the CCS has done this well in the 1,600 and 3,200.
“It’s a good way to end my high school career,” Robinson said.
Destiny Collins (Great Oak High) – the only girl seeded ahead of Robinson in the 1,600 – and defending champ Anna Maxwell (San Lorenzo Valley) weren’t as fortunate. They were running one-two with just more than 200 meters left in the race when they fell – Collins first, who accidently took down Maxwell – allowing Robinson to move in front.
“I was on the outside lane and about to make a move when it happened,” said Robinson, who was a close third at the time. “It happened so fast, and it was so shocking that I almost stopped running. It was unfortunate – it would have felt better to see everyone finish the race without falling.”
In the 3,200 – held after the sun went down – Robinson finished 12 seconds behind Northwood’s Bethan Knights, who didn’t compete in the 1,600.
“Since she didn’t double, I knew she would be fresher,” Robinson said. “But I felt really good – I kicked with 200 (meters) to go and that locked in second place for me.”
Robinson, seeded 12th, was surprised to set a personal-best time in the race.
“I didn’t think I could,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I did it until I saw the scoreboard. I was pretty happy.”
Robinson is headed to Stanford University on a soccer scholarship, though she hasn’t completely ruled out running track in college.
“I’m not sure if it will work out – the seasons are pretty close together,” she said. “We’ll see.”
Jacob reps Los Altos in 3,200
Los Altos High’s Lauren Jacob competed in the 3,200 as well, finishing 21st in the state. The sophomore ran a 11:06.36.
Although Jacob said, “ I didn’t have my best race,” she savored the experience.
“State was a fun meet to run in because of all the very talented girls I had the opportunity to run with,” said Jacob, who took second to Robinson in the CCS finals. “I am so fortunate to have the experience to compete at state, and I hope I can come back next year.”
LA’ s McConnell happy with decision
Los Altos High senior Kelly McConnell faced a tough decision: run in the 300 hurdles at state or graduate with his class. Despite not making it past Friday’s preliminaries, McConnell has no regrets about choosing the trip to Clovis.
“I put all these four years of effort into track – and school as well – but most kids graduate and not many get to compete at the state meet,” he said. “I’m glad I did it. It was awesome to be at the state meet with so many incredible athletes and compete with them.”
McConnell placed sixth in his heat with a time of 39.34, good enough for 19th place overall. Only nine of the 27 participants advanced to Saturday’s finals.
“The competition was incredible,” said McConnell, off to Chico State as a preferred walk-on. “I didn’t have my best race. I messed up coming off the fifth hurdle; the turn was sharper than I expected. ... But getting to state was a good way to end my season.”
MV freshman Estell runs 100 dash
Mountain View High’s Rachael Estell didn’t have her best day at state – finishing 27th in the 100 dash at Friday’s preliminaries – but she accomplished a lot by just qualifying for the meet as a freshman.
Estell ran a 12.68 after clocking a personal-best 12.35 to place fourth at CCS the week before.