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Track and Field: Lane continues to dominate in sophomore season
The coaches at Malibu have a problem: they can’t get Claudia Lane to slow down.
It’s the best kind of problem to have, as the sophomore runner has left competitors in her dust, winning race after race for the Sharks, including the 3,200-meter run at prestigious Arcadia Invitational on April 8.
But Lane didn’t just win it, the unstoppable sophomore also set the fastest time in the nation, finishing in a blazing 9:57.52. She was .07 seconds faster than Brie Oakley, one of the top distance runners in the country out of Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado.
“It was really cool,” Lane said. “Looking back, last year I never would’ve thought I would be here — especially running with Brie Oakley. I really look up to her. She’s such an amazing runner, so it was a privilege to run with her.”
National record aside, Malibu coach Regence Humphrey said the Arcadia race was the best he has seen Lane run in his two years with her. Unlike traditional distance runners who like to have “rabbit” to pace them, Lane took off and led the pack the whole way.
“When you’re out there and you’re racing, there’s so much adrenaline,” she said. “You’re focusing on your breathing of course and how you’re feeling aerobically, but I’m so focused on the race and all that I’m not really thinking about [anything].”
The undefeated Sharks runner has won the 3,200m five times this season and has captured 12 top finishes overall. She credits her success to gradually building up the mileage of her long runs from six to seven miles last year to eight to nine this year.
It’s that work ethic, Humphrey said, which has separated Lane from the pack.
“It’s even hard for us to get her to take days off or there’s times where we have her running events in some of these smaller meets that we know she’s going to win it, but we want her to run pace time so she’s building up the strength and the endurance — which she has tremendous amounts of,” he said. “It’s hard for us to get her to slow down.”
Lane has been on a roll since winning the Foot Locker Nationals in December 2016. And even after all her success, she remains humble.
During Monday team meetings, Humphrey recounts his athletes’ successes from their previous meet and with Lane shattering records left and right, her name is repeatedly mentioned. And though she would rather stay out of the spotlight, her accomplishments have made the Sharks squad better as a whole.
“She’s just very humble and everyone wants to get that point in their individual races and events,” Humphrey said. “She definitely boosts the team morale even though she doesn’t know it at times.”
With just a few weeks left in the season, Lane is hoping she and the Sharks can continue their success. She has set a goal of returning to the California Interscholastic Federation state meet this again year to improve on last year’s third-place finish.
“She just loves to run and she’s going to do everything to be the best at it, which is very hard to find in people sometimes,” Humphrey said. “I think she’s just going to continue to break records and just explode. She’s already exploded, but I think there’s bigger and better things to come. ... I can just tell you that we’re all just waiting to see what she does next.”