Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - September 27, 2013

Water polo teams busy with NCS-CCS Challenge and Amanda MacDonald Invitational

by Keith Peters

The Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep boys both competed in water polo tournaments last weekend and came away with solid efforts. The Knights were second in the Scott Roche Invitational while the Gators were ninth in the Santa Barbara Invitational as both finished with 3-1 records.

The two local rivals, who'll likely be on a collision course in the Central Coast Section playoffs this season, will continue their preparation for the postseason by competing against the Bay Area's best in the NCS-CCS Challenge this weekend.

Both squads will compete in the Gold Division of the 32-team tourney. Sacred Heart Prep starts out Friday against Monte Vista (Danville) at St. Francis High while Menlo takes on De La Salle at Acalanes, also at 3 p.m. Menlo is 10-4 all-time against DLS.

The championship bracket will wrap up Saturday in the East Bay, with the finals at Acalanes. Palo Alto and Gunn also are entered and will play in the Silver Division. (The complete schedule is at www.pasportsonline.com).

Menlo and SHP tuned up for this weekend's busy schedule with solid league wins Wednesday.

Despite missing two starters due to illness, Menlo made some last-minute changes and rolled to a five-goal advantage in the second half for a 12-5 victory over host Carlmont in PAL Bay Division play.

The Knights (3-0, 8-1)got five goals from Chris Xi and three each from Nick Bisconti and Nikhil Bhatia. Bisconti added three steals and Weston Avery provided two assists while goalies John Wilson and Spencer Witte each had seven saves as they split time in the cage.

At Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep outscored visiting Bellarmine by three goals in the second half to post an important 10-7 victory in West Catholic Athletic League action. The Gators improved to 2-0 in league (5-1 overall) and grabbed control of the division thanks to SI's 10-9 upending of St. Francis.

Will Conner tallied four goals and Michael Swart added three while goalie Philippe Marco was credited with 13 saves in the showdown between last year's CCS Division I and II champs.

The Bells clamped down on Stanford-bound Harrison Enright at the 2-meter position but Conner made the visitors pay for dropping off on him. Swart got the eventual winning goal that gave SHP an 8-5 lead with under six minutes left in the game. Swart also finished the scoring in the final minutes.

In San Mateo, Menlo-Atherton remained a game back of Menlo in the PAL Bay Division with a 27-7 dunking of host Aragon. Mostyn Fero led the Bears (3-1, 8-3) with six goals while Chris Blank added five. Jack Beasley, Evan McClelland and Demitri Herr all scored three times for M-A.

In girls' action, Sacred Heart Prep got five goals from freshman Maddy Johnston and senior Morgan McCracken in a 14-2 victory over host Presentation in WCAL play. The Gators (2-0, 7-1) outscored their host in the second half, 9-0.

Sacred Heart Prep will compete in the California Capital Challenge tourney this weekend at Woodcreek High in the Sacramento area.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton remained in first place with an 8-4 win over host Aragon. Jessica Heilman tallied five goals for the Bears (4-0, 6-3) while Sofia Caryotakis added two.

Also in the PAL, Castilleja got three goals from Alex Zafran and nine saves from goalie Maddie Tarr in a 9-5 win over host Carlmont. Fernanda Kramer added two goals for the Gators (3-1, 4-4), who will join Palo Alto and host Menlo School in the annual Amanda MacDonald Invitational this weekend. (The complete schedule is at www.pasportsonline.com).

Cross country

The 40th annual Stanford Invitational meet will be held Saturday at Stanford Golf Course, beginning at 9 a.m.

Besides being Stanford's only home meet this season, it also serves as a showcase for some of the best high school runners in the state.

There will be 12 high school races, six each for boys and girls covering five enrollment divisions and seeded races. Also, 33 college teams will be represented.

Overall, there are 14 races, with 3,322 registered runners.

In the high school races, the boys and girls from Gunn (led by senior Sarah Robinson), Menlo School, Palo Alto, Sacred Heart Prep and Priory all will compete. The boys' field includes state No. 1-ranked Arcadia, No. 2 Great Oak and No. 3 De La Salle. The girls' field features state No. 2 Great Oak plus No. 6 Rancho Bernardo, No. 7 Trabuco Hills, No. 8 St. Francis (Sacramento) and No. 10 La Costa Canyon.

All told, 16 high school teams — nine girls, seven boys — ranked among the top 25 in the state will run.

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