Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo School duplicated their finishes from a year ago, but Palo Alto and Gunn made it a special weekend for boys water polo at the annual NCS-CCS Challenge that wrapped up Saturday.
The Gators (9-1) swept through the two-day tournament with a 4-0 mark, topped by a 14-13 overtime victory over Miramonte in the Gold Division championship match at Acalanes High.
Menlo School (11-2) finished ninth by winning the consolation title, Palo Alto (13-3) went 4-0 in the Silver Division to win that title and Gunn (7-4) finished third with a 3-1 mark, missing a berth in the finals against Paly by a forfeit.
Sacred Heart Prep won last year's title and in 2010. This one, however, might have been a bit more surprising.
"We lost a ton from last season (six guys moving on to play in college), so I'm surprised myself," said SHP head coach Brian Kreutzkamp. "But, we are playing well. This tourney had all the top teams from NorCal, so we could be considered the top team in NorCal for now."
The Gators reached the finale with an 11-7 win over Campolindo on Saturday morning as Nelson Perla-Ward led the way with five goals. Michael Swart, Harrison Enright and Will Conner all added two goals while senior goalie Philippe Marco had 13 saves.
In the title match, SHP rallied from a 10-8 deficit entering the final period and scored four goals to tie at 12 and sent the match to a pair of overtimes.
Conner finished with five goals (including one in the first OT), Swart had four, Enright three and Perla-Ward two, including the winner. Marco came up with nine saves. For the four matches, Swart had 20 goals, Conner had 13 and Perla-Ward 12. Marco finished with 47 saves.
Menlo School bounced back from a tough opening-match loss to De La Salle and won three straight -- beating Los Altos, 11-5, and then St. Ignatius, 12-7, on Saturday to win consolation honors for the second straight season.
Nick Bisconti had three goals against Los Altos and goalie John Wilson came up big with 20 saves. Against SI, Bisconti and Andreas Katsis each tossed in four goals while Wilson and Spencer Witte combined for 15 saves.
Bisconti and sophomore Chris Xi each tallied 11 goals in the tourney to lead the Knights. Katsis led the team with six assists while Weston Avery led the team defensively with seven steals. Wilson continued to anchor a stellar defense with 40 saves in 3 1/2 matches.
"The team continues to work exceptionally hard throughout the week," said head coach Jack Bowen. "Holding a record of 11-2 is great for us right now, especially with a number of those wins against strong teams."
Palo Alto finished off a 6-0 week by sweeping through the second half of the 32-team tournament. The Vikings outscored Homestead, 14-11, in the semifinals and edged Serra, 8-6, in the finals.
Sophomore Winston Rosati scored 10 goals in the two wins and freshman Andrew Jozefov contributed four as the Vikings extended their winning streak to nine.
"What impressed me the most was how we were able to fight through some tough games and find ways to win," said Paly coach Brandon Johnson. "We didn't always play our best throughout the weekend, but we had some guys step up at crucial moments and make some clutch plays. I am very happy with how well we are playing together. We do not have any one individual who is going to dominate every game. We have a team full of guys who just want to win and have a good feel for each other.
"Our goal this weekend was to win the Silver Division and get as many points for CCS as possible. We knew this was a crucial weekend for us as it is our last tournament of the year, so all we have left are league games now. We wanted to make sure we went out on a high note."
Johnson singled out Rosati and senior Sam Kelley for consistent play all weekend.
"Kelley scored a ton of huge goals for us on Friday. Saturday, when teams really focused on shutting him down, Rosati stepped up and buried some big ones. Our freshman, Andrew Jozefov, I would have to say was the other one that stood out this weekend. He is getting better and better every game as his confidence grows. He is going to be a special player."
Johnson came close to facing his brother, Gunn coach Matt Johnson, in the title match. The Titans, however, had to forfeit its match with Serra when Matt received a red card in the third quarter with the match tied at 9.
That prevented a potential victory for Gunn and a matchup between the brothers in the Silver Division finale.
"I'm glad we didn't have to face Gunn," Brandon said. "We're going to see them probably two more times in league anyway. That's more then enough."
Gunn wound up third following a 17-8 victory over Homestead. Christian Znidarsic scored four goals with three coming from Coby Wayne, Ari Wayne, Quinn Hamilton and Calder Hilde-Jones. Anthony Zunino had 10 saves.
Coby Wayne had three goals through three periods in the forfeited match to Serra.
Gunn senior Sarah Robinson won the girls' Division I race at the annual Stanford Invitational on Saturday at the Stanford Golf Course. Robinson clocked 18:15 over the 3.1-mile course while helping the Titans finish third in the division with 132 points. Marina-Huntington Beach won the team crown with 120 while Clovis West was second with 124.
Robinson had the 12th-fastest girls' time for all the races and was the third-fastest for CCS runners, trailing only No. 1 Anna Maxwell of San Lorenzo Valley (Division IV) and No. 11 Julia Bounds of St. Francis (Division II). Robinson, however, was the fastest CCS Division I runner.
Gunn sophomore Gillian Meeks was fourth in 18:54 with freshman teammate Claire Hu taking 12th in 19:19. Sopomore Maya Miklos ran 40th in 20:13 while junior Emily Aiken wrapped up the scoring in 79th with a 20:57.
Palo Alto finished 12th out of 30 teams in Division I with 350 points. Bryn Carlson led the Vikings with a 19:44 for 25th. Katie Foug was 42nd in 20:16 followed by Emma Raney (21:01) in 84th, Portia Barrientos (21:20) in 100th and Emily Zhang (21:29) in 112th.
In the girls' Division IV race, Menlo finished 11th out of 31 teams. Lizzie Lacy finished 10th in 19:01, Zoe Enright took 15th in 19:31, and Eliza Crowder was 45th in 20:35. Rounding out the Knights' scoring was Simran Arora (21:41) and Brooke Hammarskjold (22:14).
The Knights were tied for 10th place, but the tiebreaker went to Arcata. Menlo was the third Central Coast Section finisher behind team champ San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley.
In girls' Division V, Pinewood junior Nicole Colonna finished fourth in 19:55.
For the boys, Priory finished fourth in Division V with 166 points as senior Chris Gregory finished 10th in 17:13 and junior Ross Corey was 16th in 17:38. Senior Johnny Trudelle was 40th (18:31), senior Andrew Christensen was 53rd (19:01) and senior Leo Berez took 67th (19:30).
In the Division I race, Palo Alto's Lucas Matison led the way in 23rd in 16:53.
Priory wrapped up its nonleague play by winning the Mt. Madonna Invitational in Watsonville for the second straight year on Saturday, going 4-0.
The Panthers defeated Anzar (25-14 25-13), Pacific Collegiate (25-22 25-16), Monterey (25-14 25-16) and Thomas More (25-15 25-15). Priory was led offensively by Jane Ross, Anna Brett and Marine Hall-Poirier tallying 24, 10 and 46 kills respectively.
Riley Gallivan played well with 81 assists and 21 digs. Micheala Koval controlled the back court with 18 digs while passing a 2.4. Priory begins West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) play on Tuesday when it travels to Mercy-San Francisco.
At the Cupertino Classic on Saturday, Gunn (6-6) went 2-2 with wins over Andrew Hill (25-7, 25-4) and Saratoga (25-19, 25-10) plus losses to Hillsdale (18-25, 25-23, 15-13) and Los Altos (25-14, 25-21).
Girls water polo
Sacred Heart Prep went 3-1 and finished second at the California Capital Challenge at Woodcreek High.
The Gators (10-2) edged perennial NorCal power Davis, 9-8, in the semifinals behind five goals from senior Morgan McCracken and three from freshman Maddy Johnston.
In the finals, San Ramon Valley swam away with a 14-5 triumph despite nine saves from SHP senior goalie Kelly Moran.
At the 19th annual Amanda MacDonald Invitational at Menlo School, St. Francis won the title with a 13-3 drubbing of Sir Francis Drake.
Castilleja (7-5) finished fifth with a 6-4 triumph over St. Ignatius while Palo Alto (3-9) took 11th with a 9-4 win over Burlingame. Host Menlo (3-7) went 0-4.
Paly played with a new head coach, Aileen Delaney. She moved up from her JV job after head coach Danny Dye resigned earlier in the week following an 8-3 loss to Saratoga. Delaney is a Paly grad and former water polo standout for the Vikings.