Aubrey Myjer helped Mountain View win the 2009 Division II state cross-country title as a sophomore and then decided to trade in his running shoes for a Speedo.
"I just figured, why not try water polo?" Myjer said. "I'm a pretty good swimmer, and I had a lot of friends on the team. I wanted to try something new."
The physicality of water polo wasn't a problem for Myjer, who is a two-time first-team all-league selection in lacrosse. But his passion for running never went away, so Myjer returned to cross-country this fall.
After a year off, there was little rust. Myjer, the Mercury News cross-country runner of the year, won the Central Coast Section Division II title and finished third at the state meet.
"It's amazing that he was able to pick up right where he left off," Mountain View coach Jim Bordoni said. "He gets better and better the more he races because of his athleticism.
"He's just such a great athlete -- if he wanted to play pingpong or be a wrestler, he'd be great at it."
Myjer's athleticism allows him to run races at his own pace, a strategy he used at the state meet in Fresno. When eventual champion Darren Fahy of La Costa Canyon got off to a quick start, Myjer calmly settled into the back of a crowded chase pack.
At the 2-mile mark, he made his move.
"He let other people take the pace out, and then he just started cranking it," Bordoni said. "He kept passing guys, and in the last half-milehe got up to third. He knows himself so well and always runs his race, so he always has something left."
Myjer covered the 3.1-mile course at Woodward Park in 15:14.6, the seventh-fastest time of the day and fastest by a CCS runner by more than 18 seconds.
The performance has complicated Myjer's future plans. Just a year after quitting the sport, Myjer all of a sudden has several offers to run in college and is trying to decide whether to pursue cross-country or lacrosse.
"I'm going to have to do a cost-benefit analysis," Myjer said. "Lacrosse has always been my main sport, but I think I have a lot I haven't shown as a runner.
"It's up in the air right now."
Bordoni hopes his star decides to keep his running shoes on, saying Myjer "hasn't come close to meeting his potential yet."
"If I was a college coach, I would love how much raw talent he has," Bordoni added. "Aubrey has a reserve he hasn't even tapped into yet."
Yohaness Estifanos, Milpitas, Jr.
Kevin Bishop, Monta Vista, Sr.
Richard Ho, Leland, Jr.
Andrew Prior, Gunn, Sr.
Thomas Anthony, Cupertino, Sr.
Jeffrey Stalun, Carlmont, Sr.
Eduardo Garibay, Yerba Buena, Jr.
Charles DeAnda, Bellarmine, Jr.
Ryan Dimick, Carlmont, Soph.
Grant Foster, Los Gatos, Sr.
Miguel Vasquez, Andrew Hill, Sr.
Kevin Staatz, Mountain View, Sr.
Sean Davis, Valley Christian, Sr.
Mark Vingralek, Carlmont, Fr.
Chris Waschura, Woodside; Rory Beyer, Aragon; Austin Bowie, Los Altos; Chris Foster, Los Gatos; Steven Sum, Saratoga; Nathan Madonich, South San Francisco; Esteban Valencia, Bellarmine; Jack Bordoni, Bellarmine; Beau Armstrong, Carlmont; Michael McCabe, Willow Glen; Jacob Cavillo, Leland; Reese Dickson, Carlmont; Michael Hester, Menlo-Atherton; Christian Pedro, Aragon; Henry Manning, Los Gatos; Austin Grindy, Willow Glen; Justin Tucker, Wilcox; Logan Marshall, Half Moon Bay; Arthur Schulte, Carlmont; Atzin Cardiel, Westmoor; Jesus Covarrubias, Wilcox
Gunn cross-country and track coach Matt Tompkins has to keep readjusting his expectations in regard to the potential of super sophomore Sarah Robinson.
After Robinson lowered her best time at Crystal Springs by a stunning 1 minute, 16 seconds at the SCVAL finals, she dropped an additional 20 seconds the next time out in winning the Central Coast Section Division I race with a time of 17:12.
Then she took third at the state meet (down from 68th as a freshman) and followed up with a fourth-place finish Saturday at the prestigious Foot Locker West Regional race.
Robinson, the Mercury News girls country-runner of the year, ran the 1,600 meters in 5:10 last spring as a freshman. After her win at CCS, Tompkins said he thought a 4:55 time for the 1,600 this spring would be within her capabilities, a good goal in that it would also break the school record of 4:56.
But now that's way too modest.
After her superb showing at the Foot Locker race, a time in the mid-to-low 4:40s for the metric mile would appear realistic. After all, Robinson beat some of the fastest milers in the state at the Foot Locker race, runners such as defending state champion Cami Chapus of Harvard-Westlake. Chapus ran 4:40.88 at the state finals last June.
She also beat Nikki Hiltz of Aptos, the one runner at the CCS meet to record a faster time than Robinson (17:05 in the Division III race). Hiltz placed third in the state 1,600 last track season.
Robinson'sdizzying progression becomes all the more remarkable considering she's a sophomore and that soccer remains her main priority.
With her showing at the West Regional race, Robinson qualified for the Foot Locker national cross-country championships Saturday at Balboa Park in San Diego. But she will not run in that race because of a previous commitment to the U.S. Soccer national U-17 training camp in Mission Viejo, a commitment that will necessitate missing five days of school.
Competing in the national cross-country race would have meant missing two additional school days.
Robinson has played soccer since she was 3. Now 15, she was called up from the national U-15 team to the U-17 team for a training session in October and did well enough to be invited back.
Her ascent in distance running, meanwhile, has all come in the past last year.
"I still think soccer is my priority," Robinson said. But her recent success in running "has made me focus a little more on cross-country."
In what has become something of a rarity for a girls soccer player at a national-team level, Robinson intends to play for the Gunn team this winter. She will also ask for workouts from Tompkins.
"The two complement each other," Tompkins said. "She showed at Foot Locker that she is now a national-caliber runner. Her fitness allows her to run with those girls. The only question is her speed. We haven't even given her any speed work, but she gets that from soccer."
Morgan Lira, Valley Christian, Sr.
Lauren Croshaw, Aragon, Sr.
Sarah Schreck, Carlmont, Sr.
Laura Vasquez, Presentation, Sr.
Alyssa Johnson, Leland, Jr.
Kylie Goo, Westmoor, Jr.
Kat Gregory, Priory, Sr. Second team
Lalida Maokhamphiou, Wilcox, Sr.
Maya Weigel, Mountain View, Jr.
Allison Sturges, Mountain View, Sr.
Jenny Xu, Monta Vista, Fr.
Mei-Lin Okino, Carlmont, Sr.
Molly Haar, Mitty, Jr.
Hannah Wood, Presentation, Soph. Honorable mention
Katie Foug, Palo Alto; Corin Soleberg, Carlmont; Elsa Valenzuela, Crystal Springs Uplands; Kylee Kiesow, Willow Glen; Gillian Belton, Sacred Heart Prep; Chika Kasahara, Palo Alto; Melissa Reed, Mountain View; Abbey Blake, Westmont; Catherine Lowdon, Burlingame; Taylor Fortnam, Menlo-Atherton; Chandra Anderson, Half Moon Bay; Maya Nag, Saratoga; Shaelyn Silverman, Lynbrook; Nicole Novales, Westmoor; Jessica Xu, Valley Christian; Kieran Gallagher, Gunn; Maggie Colgan, Hillsdale; Christine Prior, Gunn; Sharon Ng, Homestead; Olivia Brobst, Mitty