Menlo-Atherton hires new wrestling coach

Menlo-Atherton has named Nathan Pantoja as its new head wrestling coach. Pantoja has been working in the community for the past seven years and is currently in his fifth year of teaching sixth- and seventh-grade English and history at Beechwood School in Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood.

In collaboration with Beechwood School, the Onetta Harris Community Center, and the Menlo Park Police Department, Pantoja and a Menlo Park police officer founded the East Peninsula Wrestling Club. The club, which serves athletes in the fourth through eighth grades, has competed in multiple events throughout the Bay Area. The club draws athletes from East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and the surrounding area.

In just its third year of existence, the club finished third in last year's Peninsula Middle School League. Last season, one of the team's girls, a sixth-grader, took fourth place at the Girl's Middle School State Championship in Vallejo.

"Pantoja has a passion for serving the community and for the sport of wrestling," said M-A co-Athletic Director Steven Kryger. "With over 10 years of coaching experience in elementary and middle school in the Clovis Unified School District and the Peninsula, Nathan is excited to move up and build the sport of wrestling in the Menlo-Atherton community."

Girls volleyball

Victoria Garrick produced 46 kills and 24 digs to pace Sacred Heart Prep to a 4-1 finish and championship in the Don Varsity Volleyball Tournament at Aragon High on Saturday.

The Gators' only loss came in pool play (second round) to International School, 25-18, 30-28. That came after a 25-9, 25-8 win over Pacific Collegiate. SHP (16-7) closed pool play with a 25-21, 20-25, 15-4 win over San Mateo.

Sacred Heart Prep advanced to the Gold Division playoffs, where the Gators first defeated Aragon, 25-19, 25-23. In the finals, the Gators registered a 25-19, 25-23 win over South San Francisco.

Ara Peterson had 21 kills for SHP with Julia Mok adding 19. Natalie Marshall finished with 85 assists and Mamie Caruso finished with 30 digs.

Boys water polo

Sacred Heart Prep avenged its only loss of the season, but picked up its second setback following a second-place finish at the S & R Tournament in Irvine on Saturday.

The Gators (14-2) defeated Santa Barbara in the semifinals, 9-8, avenging a loss to that school in the Santa Barbara Invitational earlier this season. In the title game, however, SHP fell to Harvard-Westlake, 15-8, as the home team raced to a 9-3 halftime lead.

Junior Will Conner tallied three goals in the finale and four in the semifinals -- finishing with 11 in four matches -- to pace the Gators. Michael Swart had five goals on the day -- 13 for the tourney -- while goalie Marco Philippe had 18 saves on the day and 33 overall.

Girls water polo

Sacred Heart Prep suffered only its third loss of the season following a 10-8 nonleague setback to visiting San Ramon Valley on Saturday. The Gators (12-3) got three goals from Caitlin Stuewe and seven saves from fellow senior Kelly Moran.

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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