And when that's all over, there's still the matter of getting into a top-tier institution as the Ivy Leagues are mailing more and more rejection letters.
But Buckley, a junior, is making her own path off the track by doing something that would mortify many parents: this year she didn't sign up for any Advanced Placement courses.
She's not a slacker, and she's not an underachiever. Buckley took first place and set a record in the Division III 1,600 meters, with a time of four minutes and 48.69 seconds, nearly four seconds (4:52.38) quicker than the previous record that had stood for 17 years. And, She won the 800 in 2:09.66 Saturday at Cerritos College. Sarah Cummings, the Princeton-bound senior, was also a CIF champ, winning the 3,200 in 10:45.16.
Their performances advanced them to next week's Masters Meet, also at Cerritos College.
Instead of turning into a frenzied, college-admission-obsessed teen, Buckley is simply herself.
"I'm taking an honors class," Buckley said, shrugging. "But yeah, no AP's, just 'cause."
At finals, she sat underneath the CdM tent reading John Steinbeck's East of Eden for English class.
She wants to study English or history. Fashion design is a possibility if she can find a school that allows her to run track and study fashion. That leaves Parsons the New School for Design out of the question, but so far Buckley has her eye on UCLA.
Corona del Mar has multiple students accepted to Princeton and Harvard during the course of a school year. Hilary May, who finished third in the 1,600 meters (4:54.95), will study world history at Harvard this fall.
"I'm smart, but I'm not brilliant like all these other girls," Buckley demurred.
Track coach Bill Sumner had a slightly different opinion.
"She is brilliant," Sumner said. "She's brilliant in her own little way. Her confidence doesn't match her ability."