"In the just posted All-NorCal XC teams, the debate for female NorCal runner of the year came down to Fiona O'Keeffe and Anna Maxwell. Two terrific runners who each had a season for the ages. Lost in the shuffle was one runner who had a quite a season for herself and in most other seasons, she would have ended up as the NorCal runner of the year. Gunn HS runner Sarah Robinson became the 6th girl to break 17 minutes on the famed Crystal Springs course, she won at Stanford and CCS, finished 4th at the state meet and wrapped up her season with an 11th place finish at NXN. During the last track season, Robinson recorded PRs of 2:14.44, 4:48.37 and 10:26.65. At the CA state track and field meet, Robinson finished in 3rd place in the 1600m. and 5th place in the 3200m. recording PRs in both races. She will be a force to be reckoned with during this coming season."
1) How did you get your start in running? What was your first success?
I have been running just to stay in shape for soccer since I was young. Since my entire family runs I began running at a young age. But I didn't really compete until high school. My sister convinced me the last day of summer vacation before my freshman year to do cross country.
2) What about soccer? When did you begin to play soccer? What do you enjoy the most about that sport?
I began playing soccer at a very young age because my older sister played. I think I started playing at around 4 years old. I enjoy the skill in the sport and the intensity. I also like how it is a team sport and all the team members depend on each other. I really enjoyed traveling with my club team and the national team.
3) Tell us a little about your freshman experience in high school in both sports (XC and TF). Highlights in both sports. Who were your mentors or runners that you looked up to as a freshman?
As a freshman I was just running to have fun and simply because I loved to run. I thought it was awesome that I could run with my older sister and be on the same team with her.
I think in cross country a highlight would be placing 3rd in CCS. During track I was traveling quite a bit for soccer so I didn't get to compete in be post season but I guess it would be placing 3rd at the league meet in the 1600m.
As a freshman, I looked up to my sister and the other upper-class members on the team.
4) What about your sophomore seasons? Highlights in both sports?
For my sophomore cross-country season, I really improved. I think a highlight would be winning CCS and running on the Crystal Springs cross country course. Another highlight would be running the Footlocker West cross country meet and qualifying for the Footlocker National Meet. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend due to a commitment to the U-17 National Soccer Team.
For track I was traveling quite a bit for the national team and couldn't compete again in the post season. A highlight would be breaking five minutes in the 1600m.
5) What do you feel was your best race during your junior cross country season? What about during track season?
During my junior year cross country season I did not compete, but I competed during track. I feel that my best race during track was either the mile run at the Stanford Invitational or the 1600m and 3200m at the CIF California state meet.
6) What did you do differently in preparation for your senior cross country season? Workouts? Typical mileage per week? Races?
For my senior year cross country season, I trained with the Gunn team over the summer. We did more speed work on the track and did some hard tempo runs on the trails. We mixed in some hill training as well. Mileage was not as much of a focus as was the quality of my runs and workouts. But I think my mileage was around 40 miles/week and I cross trained one day a week.
The races at the beginning of the season were not all out efforts. My coach (Pattisue Plumer) wanted to work on specific pieces of a race rather than going all out. Then as the season progressed I began to push the races more.
7) Looking back at this past cross country season, what do you feel were your best races and proudest accomplishments?
I think my best races were run at CCS , the state meet, and at NXN. I think my proudest accomplishments would be breaking 17 at Crystal Springs and earning All-American honors at NXN.
8) What did a typical week look like for you during this past cross country season in terms of training?
It was a mix of long runs with hard workouts. Typically we would have a long run on the weekend and easier runs during the week. We would have around 2 hard workouts (either on the track, a hill workout, or a tempo run). I cross trained around 1 day a week.
9) Tell us about your coaches throughout your four years at Gunn HS and how they helped you develop into the runner you are today.
The coaching staff has changed since I was a freshman but they have all been outstanding. My first coach at Gunn was Ernie Lee. He was a great support system and helped me transition into competitive running easily. He still supports and helps me even though he no longer coaches at Gunn. Matt Tompkins was very fun to work with because he is entertaining and enthusiastic. He made the hard workouts easier by cracking jokes and making everyone smile. Pattisue Plumer is the coach I have had for the past couple of years. She has been amazing at developing my speed and endurance. She also helps me with things outside of just running and supports me in any way she can. I appreciate the time and effort of all the coaches I have had. I wouldn't have been able to be where I am today without them.
10) Favorite XC course? Favorite XC invitational? Favorite XC workout? Favorite distance run? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite TF event? Favorite TF invitational? Favorite TF workout?
I think my favorite XC course was either crystal springs or the NXN course. The NXN course because it was so different from the all the other courses and the Crystal Springs course because there is great history to it and I ran it many times during my cross country seasons.
My favorite XC invitational would probably have to be the first away trip I did with the Gunn team. We went to the Stevenson Invite which is a relay. I thought it was a really fun way to open up the season.
My favorite XC workout would be "Gut-busters." In this workout we have a loop that ends with a big dirt hill. We repeat the loop about 12 times. It's challenging but very fun.
My favorite distance run would probably be anything at Rancho. The entire park is filled with dirt trails and mix between steep and long hills.
My favorite opponents would probably be some of the boys (Thomas Rassmusen and Antonio Puglisi) on the cross country team. I enjoy running with them because they push me.
My favorite TF event would probably be the 1600m because it uses both an incredible amount of speed and endurance. The 3200m is close behind; I do love the steady pace you can achieve in the 3200m.
My favorite TF workout was probably the wheel workout we did with 400s. We would do a 400 and jog a 100 and then begin another 400. Once we finished a wheel we would jog a lap. We did 3 wheels (12 400s) and the paces got faster each 400. It was incredibly challenging but felt great once we were finished because we knew it was such a hard workout.
11) Peaking ahead to the track and field season, what are the meets that you are really looking forward to and what are some of your goals?
I think my goals would be to improve my times. I would also love to have solid races in the post season. I think the Stanford Invitational, or the Top 8 meet and any other invites I compete in should be fun.
Thank you very much for your time Sarah! AJC