"Mountain View is clearly stronger than us," Lee said of the defending champion. "They have seven girls faster than our fifth. Mountain View's depth makes the difference."
Mountain View defeated Gunn, 27-61, last season with all five of its runners finishing in the top nine while the Titans had only three among the top 15.
Gunn returns two of those finishers — senior Erin Robinson and junior Kieran Gallagher — and has a strong supporting cast in freshman Sarah Robinson, senior Emma Dohner and sophomore Melia Dunbar.
Those five helped the Titans win the annual Palo Alto City Championships on Tuesday at Bol Park in Palo Alto. With Erin Robinson clocking 12:16 over the 2.18-mile course for the No. 3 all-time mark, Gunn totaled 16 points while racing away from Palo Alto (43) and Castilleja (incomplete).
Robinson was followed by her sister, Sarah, in 12:35. That's the No. 7 all-time mark on the course. Castilleja senior Rachel Skokowski broke up a near Gunn sweep by taking third in 12:41, No. 12 on the all-time list. She missed moving into the top 10 by just one second.
Gunn wrapped things up with Gallagher finishing fourth in 12:47 (she ran 12:39 last season), Dohner taking fifth in 13:07 and Dunbar finishing seventh in 13:24.
Palo Alto senior Susan Heinselman also helped break up Gunn's dominance with a sixth-place finish of 12:18. Gunn wound up placing seven runners among the top 13.
The Titans most likely will need to have all their runners among the top 20, most in the top 15, to have a chance of upending Mountain View on Tuesday. A second-place finish, however, still will earn Gunn a trip to the Central Coast Section finals at Toro Park in Salinas.
In the boys' league finals, Los Altos is favored to defeat defending champion Mountain View, while Gunn hopes to sneak in with a third after taking second last year.
The Titans tuned up with a standout performance at the City Championships, placing eight runners among the first nine finishers. Andrew Prior led the way in 10:57, the No. 17 all-time mark. Teammate Rory Runser was second in 11:05 while Peter Chen secured a 1-2-3 finish by the Titans with a 11:08 clocking.
Nikolai Solgaard broke up Gunn's dominance with a fourth-place finish of 11:25. Gunn's Daniel Krigel (11:25) and Michael Underwood (11:35) finished the scoring in fifth and sixth, respectively.
The PAL Championships will be held on Thursday, Nov. 4, also at Crystal Springs. Carlmont now looks to be the prohibitive favorite, after the Scots finished ahead of Menlo-Atherton at last weekend's Mt. SAC Invitational in Walnut.
In one of many varsity races, Carlmont finished fourth while M-A took sixth on the 3.0-mile layout. More telling was the fact the Scots had their top five finish ahead of the Bears' opposing runners at each position. Michael Hester was M-A's top finisher in 29th place (16:00) while teammate Jack Beckwith was 31st in 16:03. Carlmont's top two runners, however, finished 17th and 31st.
The West Bay Athletic League finals will be held Nov. 5, also at Crystal Springs.