Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - October 26, 2012

Gunn, Castilleja golf teams qualify for CCS tourney

by Keith Peters

The Gunn and Castilleja girls' golf teams went undefeated during their respective league seasons, dominating their opponents with easy victories. Thus, it wasn't that surprising on Wednesday as both teams won their league tournaments with relative ease.

Gunn shot 412 and won by 20 strokes in the Blossom Valley Athletic League tourney at the par-71 Santa Teresa Golf Course in San Jose. Castilleja had an even easier time as it shot 430 and won by 34 strokes at the par-71 Poplar Creek Golf Course in San Mateo.

Both teams will advance to the CCS finals on Tuesday at Rancho Cananda (East) in Carmel Valley. Six at-large teams and 24 individuals also will qualify to CCS.

With the CCS cutting back on the number of qualifying teams and individuals, Gunn pretty much needed to win the BVAL title. With three players shooting in the 70s, that became a moot point.

"All our players played really good golf," said Gunn coach Chris Redfield. "Anna Zhou got off to a slow start and was 3-over early in her round, but played a steady back nine — finishing with birdies on 16-17-18 to post a 1-over-par 74."

Gunn's Tiffany Yang shot a 5-over 41 on the front nine, before turning it around on the tougher back nine with a 2-under 35 to finish at 76.

"Tiffany was the only member of our teams who had never played the back nine there, but this didn't slow here down a bit," said Redfield.

Gunn junior Jayshree Sarathy finished with a 78, playing a steady front nine. She was 2-over after 11 but picked up a double-bogey on the 12th — a downhill, dogleg right par-4.

"That slowed her momentum a bit," Redfield said. "Jayshree said her ball-striking was good, but that she didn't convert several short birdie putts."

Gunn also got a solid 83 from Lianna McFarlane-Connolly, a season best. Sandra Herchen, a former member of the Gunn basketball team and a newcomer to golf, rounded out the Titans' scoring with a 101.

In San Mateo, Castilleja had what amounted to a practice round as the Gators already had clinched a CCS berth by virtue of winning the regular-season round-robin title.

Harker was second with 464 strokes while Sacred Heart Prep (490) and Menlo School (502) rounded out the team scoring. It's unlikely that SHP or Menlo will advance as a team with the tougher qualifying standards this season.

Castilleja had all five players shoot 93 or better with sophomore Chloe Sales leading the way with a 9-over 80. She bounced back from a double-bogey six on the second hole and a 42 on the front nine to shoot 38 on the back. She tied with Menlo freshman Jessie Rong, who may advance as an individual.

Castilleja senior Taylor Wilkerson was a stroke back at 81, thanks to a double-bogey six on both the 13th and 18th holes, with Danielle Mitchell tying for eighth with an 84. Freshman Paris Wilkerson (92) and Nicole Mitchell (93) rounded out the Gators' scoring.

Allison Beers of Pinewood shot 77 and should advance to CCS. She was only 2-over on the back nine. Caroline Broderick of Menlo (86) and Maddy Ellison of SHP (87) are on the bubble.

At the PAL Championships on Tuesday, Menlo-Atherton senior Xin Fang shot 79 at Poplar Creek to qualify for the CCS tournament.

Cross country

The Menlo-Atherton girls finished only fifth at last year's Peninsula Athletic League Championships. The Bears should fare much better on Saturday when the league meet returns to Crystal Springs in Belmont.

Despite returning only two runners from that 2011 team — only one of which finished among the top 10 — the Bears are likely favorites to run off with the team crown this weekend.

One reason for that are the CCS rankings, which list M-A at No. 8. The Bears' nearest rival is No. 11 Half Moon Bay.

Another reason why M-A may run off with the title is its talented freshman class. Of the seven runners going to the starting line at 3 p.m., five will be freshmen — Maddie Worden, Annalisa Crowe, Katie Beebe, Madeleine Baier and Cat DePuy. Juniors Taylor Fortnam, 10th last season, and Annika Roise, round up the top seven.

"If the girls win, this will be their first league title since 1994," said M-A coach Eric Wilmurt. "The trick will be getting these girls to the state meet."

In the boys' varsity race at 2:30 p.m., the Bears won't be favored. Carlmont is favored to defend its title. The Scots are ranked No. 2 in the CCS while the Bears are No. 9 (but the No. 2-ranked team from the PAL).

"I thought we had a shot at the boys (title) the last couple of years," Wilmurt said, "but Carlmont has whooped all over us."

The Bears lost their top two finishers from last season, but return seniors George Baier, John Lovegren and junior Zach Plante — all of whom finished among the top 22. Senior Alexander Aguiar also returns. Junior Eric Snyder, who was fifth in the frosh-soph finals last season, could be among M-A's top five scorers unless sophomore Adam Scandlyn grabs that spot.

The Palo Alto and Gunn boys and girls, meanwhile, made their final tuneup before next Tuesday's SCVAL Championships at Crystal Springs, with the Vikings running off with team titles at the Palo Alto City Championships.

In the girls' race over the 2.18-mile layout at Gunn's Bol Park course, Paly sophomore Katie Foug led the Vikings to a solid victory. Foug toured the course in 12:45 as the Vikings put seven runners among the top 10 and scored 23 points to the Titans' 36. Freshman Gillian Meeks led Gunn with a second-place finish of 12:51.8.

In the boys' race, Gunn sophomore David Lee-Heidenreich ran off with individual honors with a 11:16.8 clocking, but Palo Alto's depth won out for a team title. Paly sophomore Nate Cook led a 2-3-4-7-8 finish by the Vikings for a seven-point victory.

The Paly girls will take a No. 12 CCS ranking into the league finals, where they figure to battle defending champ Mountain View for team honors in the El Camino Division race. The Vikings were third last season, trailing Gunn. The Titans, however, lost defending individual champ Sarah Robinson to injury. Foug was fifth last year and could challenge for individual honors.

The Gunn and Palo Alto boys figure to trail Los Altos (No. 3 CCS) and Milpitas (No. 8) in the team race.

Girls' tennis

Menlo-Atherton wrapped up the PAL Bay Division regular-season title with a routine 6-1 victory over host Woodside on Tuesday. The Bears improved to 13-1 in league (15-5 overall) and earned an automatic berth into the CCS playoffs.

Menlo-Atherton had forced a tie for first place last Tuesday by upending host Carlmont. One day later, the Scots were upset by Burlingame in the resumption of a match that had been suspended.

Thus, all the Bears had to do was win their final two matches — which they did — to become champs.

The PAL playoffs, which began Thursday, will conclude Friday to decide the second team advancing to the section tournament.

The Bears set the tone of the match by sweepinmg the singles while losing only four points. Erin LaPorte had the toughest match at No. 1 singles, winning by 6-2, 6-1. Samantha Andrew lost one point at No. 2 while Lindy LaPlante and Valerie Giordano both posted 6-0, 6-0 wins.

While Menlo-Atherton was breezing to one title, Menlo School made things look too close for comfort while securing another.

The Knights won their 19th straight league title and the 17th under head coach Bill Shine by edging visiting Harker, 4-3, on Tuesday in WBAL Foothill Division action. The Eagles threatened to end the Knights' historic winning streak before finally falling. Menlo (9-0, 14-7) left the courts with a league record of 197-0 since 1994.

Sophomore Liz Yao led the way for Menlo with a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 1 singles, which clinched the victory. Christine Elizao (6-3, 6-1) and fellow junior Laura Gradiska (6-1, 6-0) won at No. 3 and 4, respectively. Menlo seniors Christine Kvamme and Sam Hoag helped preserve the team's streak with a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 3 doubles.

Menlo held a 4-0 lead and played without No. 2 singles player Kristy Jorgensen, who has left the team in order to concentrate on her academics.

Sacred Heart Prep, meanwhile, tuned up for its Senior Day match with Menlo (yesterday) by cruising past host Crystal Springs, 6-1. Caroline Nordman led the Gators (5-4, 11-9) by battling for a 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-5) victory at No. 1 singles.

Girls' volleyball

Sacred Heart Prep, Palo Alto and Menlo-Atherton all moved a step closer to securing their respective league titles with solid victories on Tuesday night.

Sacred Heart Prep remained atop the WBAL Foothill Division standings by one game with a 25-21, 9-25, 25-17, 25-21 victory over host Castilleja.

Senior Ellie Shannon continued her standout season with 16 kills for the visiting Gators (8-0, 25-4) while fellow seniors Payton Smith (13 kills, three blocks) and Cammie Merten (32 assists, 12 digs) also contributed in a big way.

Castilleja (2-6, 14-14) was led by senior Lucy Tashman, who produced 20 kills, 17 digs and three blocks. Madeline Johnson added seven kills and Hannah Hsieh dished out 38 assists and had 17 digs.

Remaining just a game back of SHP in the division was Menlo School, which rolled to a 25-11, 25-23, 25-13 victory over visiting Priory. The Knights moved to 6-1 in league (19-10 overall) with three matches remaining — the final one against visiting SHP on Nov. 1.

Junior outside hitter Maddie Huber led Menlo with 12 kills and 10 digs. Sarah Bruml and Emma Thygesen each added nine kills with middle blocker Morgan Dressel finishing with six kills while hitting .500. Elisa Merten had 37 assists as the Knights hit .318 as a team.

Briana Willhite led Priory (3-5, 16-8) with 11 kills.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto moved closer to securing the crown with a 25-10, 25-15, 25-20 victory over visiting Lynbrook. The Vikings improved to 10-1 in the division (21-4 overall) and continues to maintain a one-game lead over second-place Homestead.

The Mustangs (9-2 league) are the last remaining threat to overcoming Palo Alto after they knocked off Los Gatos (8-3) in four sets on Tuesday. Paly has three matches left, including a home date with Los Gatos on Tuesday that should decide the division title.

Becca Raffel had 12 kills and Shelby Knowles finished with 11 in the win over Lynbrook. Raffel had only one hitting error in 21 swings. She also served three aces and had four digs. Sophia Bono (18 assists) and Sarah Limb (13 assists) led the ball-handling department while Keri Gee and Knowles each added 10 digs.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton had to battle for a 25-17, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21 victory over host Burlingame to open a two-game lead over the Panthers and Carlmont. The Bears (11-0, 21-7) were led by senior Katelyn Doherty's 15 digs, 15 kills and 18 assists.

Junior Pauli King added 21 digs and 15 kills, Eliza Guiterrez-Dewar served five aces, Kaitlin Tavarez finished with 22 assists plus 13 digs and Ally Ostrow added five kills and 17 digs for the Bears, who had a chance to earn no worse than a co-title by beating host Hillsdale last night. The Bears then can win the title outright by beating visiting Mills on Tuesday.

In other matches, Gunn (3-8, 11-13) dropped a 25-17, 22-25, 25-11, 25-19 decision to host Mountain View in SCVAL De Anza Division play. Lena Latour paced the Titans with 10 kills.

Boys' water polo

Sacred Heart Prep wrapped up the regular-season title in the West Catholic Athletic League and the No. 1 seed for next week's league tournament following a 15-9 dunking of visiting St. Francis on Wednesday night.

The Gators (6-0, 20-4), who finished in a three-way for first place last year, could have fallen into a similar finish had the Lancers (4-2, 9-11) prevailed. SHP made sure that didn't happen by scoring six goals in the opening period — three by sophomore Will Conner. The transfer from Paly finished with a season-high six goals.

Junior Harrison Enright added four goals, Zach Churukian tallied three and Bret Hinrichs contributed two. Senior goalie Will Runkel had 12 saves, blanking the Lancers in the final quarter.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton remained atop the standings with an easy 24-3 romp over host Aragon. Harrison Holland-McCowan scored four goals for the Bears (4-0, 11-11), who can wrap up the division crown on Tuesday by beating host Woodside.

That should be no problem. Menlo School did just that Wednesday, 20-4, as Micah Rosales tallied five goals and freshman Chris Xi added four. Alexander Lazar manned the goalie spot in the first half and had 11 saves for the Knights (3-1 (12-10).

In the PAL Ocean Division, Priory played its first and only match on campus and dropped a 15-9 decision to Terra Nova. The Panthers (0-11, 1-13) got four goals from Kyle Walden and trailed by only 8-7 at halftime against the defending division champs before being held to just two goals the final two periods.

On Tuesday, host Palo Alto played second-place Los Altos tough throughout the match before finally dropping a 12-11 overtime decision on Tuesday. The Vikings (6-5, 12-7) rallied from two goals down entering the final period to tie and force the extra periods. Bret Pinsker led Paly with four goals with Quinn Rockwell adding two.

Girls' water polo

Menlo-Atherton remained atop the PAL Bay Division standings with a 14-3 victory over host Aragon. The Bears (4-0, 12-7) can wrap up its sixth straight division title by beating host Castilleja next Wednesday (5 p.m.).

Fiona Jackson led the Bears with four goals while Jenna Swartz added three. Sami Henze had five steals and Sierra Sheeper made seven saves. Nicolle Zanolli had a fine all-around game with two goals, three steals and four assists.

Castilleja, meanwhile, remained in second place following a 13-7 victory over host Sequoia. Sydney Molano led the Gators (3-1, 10-9) with four goals with Stephanie Flamen adding two. Maddie Tarr had 12 goalie saves.

In the WCAL, Sacred Heart Prep's shot at defending its regular-season title missed the mark in a 6-3 loss to visiting St. Francis on Wednesday. The Gators (5-1, 15-5) were outscored in the second half, 5-1, as the Lancers (6-0, 17-3) claimed the title.

On Tuesday, Gunn clinched the SCVAL De Anza Division title with a 14-5 victory over host Lynbrook. The Titans (10-1, 14-5) also earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming league tournament and a first-round bye. Senior Lauren Lesyna paced the Titans with five goals with junior Caroline Anderson adding four and Rachel Wong three.

Elsewhere in the division, host Palo Alto celebrated Senior Day with a 7-5 victory over Los Altos. The Vikings (7-3, 11-8) closed the regular season at Gunn last night.

In the PAL Ocean Division, host Menlo School won its sixth straight with a 17-3 dunking of San Mateo. Kaelen Dunn scored three goals to pace the Knights (10-2, 11-5) with Lindsay Montgomery, Audrey Flower, Esmee Morris and Yasmine El-Hage all scoring twice.

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