Claudia Lane, the indefatigable Malibu HS junior who is the defending CIF-State 3200m champion on the track and the two-time CIF-State D4 and Foot Locker National champion in XC, is considering adding the 1600m to her schedule this season with a possibility -- pending Coach Mark Larsen's blessing -- of a 16-32 double all the way through the CIF-State meet in June.
To do that, Lane would need to run two 1600s on consecutive days at State -- one in qualifying on Friday and then the Saturday final -- before her one-and-done speciality 3200m late in the Saturday night program.
Consider that the 1600m in CA is already stacked. Four of the top five finishers from last season are back, including defending champion Maddy Denner of Oak Ridge and runner-up Olivia O'Keeffe of Davis.
Seven of the top 10 finishers from last June's final are back, with No. 10 being Haley Herberg of Capistrano Valley, who is coming off a stellar XC season that culminated in a divisional title.
On top of all of that, add emerging Great Oak junior Fatima Cortes, who recently put on an impressive performance at the CA Winter Championships, running away from La Costa Canyon senior McKenna Brown in the last 250m to win the 1500m going away. Brown, who had CA's fastest 1500 time this winter before the final, placed fifth at State in the 16 last June.
Also in the 1600 mix is Saugus senior Mariah Castillo, a TCU-bound XC star who prefers to show off her amazing kick at the end of 16s to running the longer distances on the track.
And now this event may also include Lane, who went 4:47.73 for the mile at Stanford last spring and posted a 4:51.27 PR in the last 16 she ran last May to win the CIF-SS Divisional title.
What a field! And it's we're not even to St. Patrick's Day.
Check back for more on Lane and other defending State champions as we conclude our exclusive feature interview series next week.