With her ailments behind her, Allison Sturges left her competitors in the dust as well at Saturday’s Central Coast Section cross-country championships.
The Mountain View High sophomore claimed the Division II girls race with a personal-best time of 18 minutes exactly at Crystal Springs in Belmont.
“It was definitely my best race in a while,” said Sturgess, who passed runner-up Erin Hicks of Los Altos with about 1,000 meters left and finished 18 seconds ahead of her. “It was a tough finish on my body, but I felt pretty strong compared to other races.”
Sturgess recently recovered from swine flu, which she said affected her performance at the SCVAL El Camino Division finals the previous week at Crystal Springs. Sturges finished fourth with an 18:59, 30 seconds behind winner Hicks, a senior.
“I tried to push my body to go faster but physically couldn’t run any faster,” said Sturgess, who was also sick early in the season, and last year missed the postseason meets with a stress fracture. “(At CCS) I felt very strong and relaxed, and everything went smoothly.”
Sturgess stuck to her strategy of going out conservatively and waiting until after the biggest hill on the 2.95-mile course to make her move to the front of the pack.
“After I passed (Hicks), the gap slowly got bigger and bigger,” Sturgess said.
The win helped Mountain View capture the team title as well. The Spartans ran a 93:25, which coach Evan Smith said is the fourth-fastest girls time on the course. Spartans’ Martina De Geus placed fourth (18:22), Zoe Pappas eighth (18:40), Sarah Wells 12th (19:00) and Carol Passarelli 21st (19:23).
The Mountain View boys also won their division, led by second-place finisher Garrett Rowe (14:52).
Four other Spartans placed in the top 10: Ian Myjer (third, 15:03), Parker Schuh (fifth, 15:16), Alex McGuirk (ninth, 15:42) and Aubrey Myjer (10th, 15:43). Their combined time of 76:36 is the third-best on the course, according to Smith.
The Gunn girls – featuring Los Altos Hills residents Erin Robinson, Kieran Gallagher and Claire O’Connell – claimed the Division I championship. Robinson came in second (18:19), Gallagher sixth (18:45) and O’Connell seventh (18:49).
All these teams are headed to the state meet, scheduled Nov. 28 at Woodward Park in Fresno.