San Lorenzo Valley High School junior Anna Maxwell withstood hot weather and stiff competition on her path to the California Interscholastic Federation 1600 title last weekend.
Battling 102-degree heat in Clovis on Saturday, June 1, Maxwell built an early lead and held off the defending state champion Nikki Hiltz down the home stretch to capture her first state title and add to a growing list of accomplishments.
Maxwell crossed the finish line in 4:47.33, with Hiltz finishing second in 4:48.07.
“I went into it like it was just another race,” Maxwell said this week while taking a break from training at the SLV track. “(The fact that I won) kicked in a little bit later.”
Several hours after the mile, Maxwell, who had won both the 1600 and 3200 meter races at the Central Coast Section Championships the weekend before, took third in the state in the 3200 in 10.25.68.
“I’m really proud of her,” said coach Rob Collins. “She’s worked hard.”
In both races, Maxwell jumped out to the front of the pack and held her ground the rest of the way.
It was a challenging weekend for the young runner. On Friday, May 31, Maxwell ran the preliminary 1600 in 4:51.58 to qualify for the final. The following day, she doubled up, running the 1600 with a dozen other runners and the 3200 in a field of 29.
“I had run a fast mile the day before,” she said. “I eventually recovered. I usually feel better after the 3200.”
Maxwell’s track season has been one for the ages. For several weeks Maxwell held the fastest time in the nation in the 1600 and during the stretch, she obliterated SLV’s records in the 800, 1600 and 3200 which were all set by Alejandra Barrientos during the 1999 and 2000 seasons. Maxwell’s times in the 800 and 3200 are both Santa Cruz County records.
Collins is impressed by Maxwell’s intelligence, coachability and ability as a well-rounded middle distance runner and said she’s the best runner he’s ever coached.
“Right now, yes, especially when you say the full package,” he said. Collins noted her strong work ethic, humble personality, strong academics and willingness to listen to coaching and follow a plan. He said the sky is the limit for Maxwell.
“She has great range,” Collins said. “When you rank statewide in the 400, 800, mile and two mile — it comes more naturally for her. Anna can go as far as she wants to go. It all depends on where she wants to take it.”
Maxwell said she has a list of 20 colleges in mind, and a top-five including several in the PAC-12. She hopes to combine academics and athletics and plans to study the sciences in college, perhaps environmental law and policy.
Maxwell’s track season is not finished. She has been nominated for the Gatorade Track and Field runner of the year in California and will travel to the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. June 14 through 16. Then she, along with teammate Claire MacMillan and 8th grader Abbey Meck will travel to the USA Track and Field World Youth Track and Field Trials June 25 and 26 in Edwardsville, Ill. Maxwell’s results so far have likely qualified her for the International Association of Athletic Federation World Youth Championships in Ukraine from July 10 to 14.
“I can’t wait to go. It will be awesome,” said Maxwell, who has only traveled out of the country for a cruise in Mexico. “Those high-caliber races are really exciting.”
Edwards takes third in mile
Scotts Valley High School junior Scott Edwards ran a stellar 1600 to take third at the California Interscholastic Federation track and field championships in 4:13.42. Edwards took second at the Central Coast Section Championships behind Miguel Vasquez of Andrew Hill. However in the state finals, Edwards bested Vasquez by .04 seconds to reach the podium.
Scotts Valley senior Vanessa Fraser finished 9th in the 3200, nearly two seconds faster than her time in 2012. Fraser finished the race in 10:31.50 after running 10:33.16 last season.