* Carlie Dorostkar has exploded on to the California cross country scene in 2019
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By Logan Stanley - MileSplit Correspondent
One of the top runners in the state of California this fall wasn't even focused full-time on the sport upon entering high school.
But fast forward four years later, and Dorostkar has made quite the splash in the running community, cementing herself as one of the elites. It's been a whirlwind of events for the senior, who is currently US No. 1 in the three-mile with a time of 15:57.5.
That mark came at the Dana Hills Invitational, one of the top meets held each year in southern California. Dorostkar also set the course record en route to her win.
The course record is the latest in a series of accolades Dorostkar has achieved in the past calendar year.
Dorostkar isn't a newcomer to the scene--she placed fifth in Division I at the 2018 CIF California Cross Country Championships. But 2019 has been particularly fruitful.
In early May, she ran 4:58.01 in the 1,600m. Dorostkar followed up that performance a few weeks later at the CIF State Track and Field Championships by running 10:26.15 in the 3,200m to finish fifth.
Clearly, the spring was a windup to the fall.
Dorostkar opted to delay her season debut until Sept. 21, competing at the Mt. Carmel XC Invitational, though all she did there was run was 14:46.6 on the 2.75-mile course, winning the one minute and 19 seconds.
The next week came her big win at Dana Hills. Dorostkar's roll continued into October as she placed second at the prestigious Mt. Sac Invitational, running 16:50.0 on the three-mile course.
She just recently won the North County Conference Championships, with her 17:28.6 on the 5,000-meter course besting the second place finisher by one minute and 14 seconds.
Her Canyon Crest coach, Andrew Corman, said all the success Dorostkar has seen lately has been earned, not given.
"Carlie puts a lot of focus on what she needs to be successful," he said. "She does additional strength and core work along with really working on her form and training. She will typically do extra miles each day or for cool down as well."
Next up for Dorostkar are the CIF San Diego Section Finals, where she's hoping to build confidence heading into the state championships on Nov. 30. She figures to be a top contender for the Division I individual title, where she'll likely duke it out with Buchanan senior Corie Smith, ranked No. 10 in the country.
Smith was the 2017 Division I champion, but missed last year's meet due to an illness.
"If Carlie can get up with the top girls, it should be a real good race," Corman said. "This past season, Corie [Smith] has been racing really well and looking strong. While the only race they went against each other was Clovis, that's been Carlie's worse race of the year, and she still ran faster than last year.
"I do not see that race affecting her at the state meet," he added.
He's referring to is Dorostkar's fifth-place finish at the Clovis Invitational on Oct. 11, in which she ran 17:26 on the 5k course but finished 33 seconds behind the first-place Smith.
To understand where the bar is right now for Dorostkar, the 17:26 is a personal best for her. But that's what happens when an athlete enters elite territory - expectations are raised considerably.
Dorostkar has clearly rebounded from the race in Clovis, as she's picked up two wins in her past three competitions--her only loss coming to star Desert Vista (AZ) High School freshman Lauren Ping at the Mt. SAC Invitational.
"The last few races we have increased our focus on speed/strength and intensity to peak at this time of year - so I am excited to see what happens," Corman said. "The top girls in D1 are all strong and fast. Carlie definitely is part of that group."
On Nov. 30 at Woodward Park in Fresno, Dorostkar will get her chance to redeem herself against Smith at the 2019 CIF California Cross Country Championships.
Maybe then, perhaps, we'll witness her best race yet.