Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - December 9, 2011

Soccer keeps Robinson out of national cross country

by Keith Peters

Sarah Robinson became only the third Gunn girl in school history to qualify for the Foot Locker National Championships in cross country next weekend in San Diego. Unlike her predecessors, however, Robinson will not be competing.

Robinson finished fourth in the Girls' Seeded Race at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships West Regional on Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, clocking 18:11 over the 5,000-meter (3.1 miles) course. She earned one of the 10 qualifying spots for nationals at San Diego's Balboa Park this coming Saturday.

Robinson will be in the San Diego area this weekend, but the sophomore will be in Chula Vista with the U.S. Soccer U17 National Team at a week-long training camp that begins Saturday.

Said Gunn assistant coach Ernie Lee: "There was just too much overlap between Foot Locker activities and the training camp to allow her to do both (despite only four miles separating the two sites). So, Sarah will actually miss a week of school and whatever Gunn (soccer) games that are scheduled for that week."

Robinson followed in the footsteps of Gunn grads Ruth Graham (2001) and Tori Tyler (2004) in qualifying for nationals, but her fourth-place finish was the highest of the three.

"Sarah ran an awesome race today," said Gunn head coach Matt Tompkins. "It was great to see her beat, and compete, against some of the top girls in the country."

Added Lee: "She ran a tactically perfect race. She was always in good position (about 20th at the mile, seventh at the halfway point, and up to fourth after 2.5 miles).

"This was even better than her race at CCS and considerably better than her state meet performance. She even said that it felt easier than her race last weekend (state meet), even though she was running nearly as fast on a much tougher course."

Robinson was the No. 2 finisher from California, with the No. 1 girl being eventual winner Karlie Garcia of Roseville, who 17:46. Robinson was also the fastest sophomore.

Priory senior Kat Gregory finished 38th in 19:24.

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