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Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - October 25, 2013

CCS is next stop for local champs

by Keith Peters

It should be a very interesting Central Coast Section girls' golf championships next week at Rancho Canada (East Course) in Carmel Valley, as more local teams and players than usual will be competing for honors.

Gunn and Castilleja will be there for sure. The Titans earned a berth after winning the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League tourney on Tuesday while Castilleja earned its spot by claiming the regular-season title before winning the West Bay Athletic League Tournament on Wednesday, just for good measure.

Palo Alto, which shared the SCVAL regular-season title with Gunn and lost to the Titans in the league tournament by just two strokes, also should be making an appearance as an at-large team.

Valley Christian is the defending CCS team champ, but Gunn and Palo Alto could battle for the top spot next week.

Castilleja also could be in the running after it continued its success in the WBAL by defending its league tournament title at Poplar Creek Golf Course in San Mateo.

Wednesday's victory was a mere tuneup for Castilleja and the Gators used it well by registering an 18-stroke victory (430-448) over rival Sacred Heart Prep in the 18-hole event.

Junior Chloe Sales led Castilleja with a 7-over 78. Kristine Lin of Harker won individual honors with a 76 and earned an automatic berth into the CCS finals while defending her league title. Jessie Rong of Menlo School finished second with a 77 and most likely earned an at-large berth.

Team and individual at-large berths were decided at a CCS meeting Thursday.

Jessica Koenig of SHP also put herself in position to possibly earning one of 23 available at-large berths by shooting an 80. Four teams, meanwhile, will receive at-large berths.

Junior Danielle Mitchell of Castilleja finished fifth with an 83 while her twin sister, Nicole, tied for sixth with an 86. Cami Steppe of SHP and Lauren Yang of Menlo tied for eighth with 89s.

Gunn made some history by becoming the first team champion of the SCVAL tournament with a two-stroke victory over rival Palo Alto at Santa Teresa Golf Course in San Jose.

The Titans, who won the Blossom Valley Athletic League tourney last season, made a highly successful debut in the first-year SCVAL this year by sharing the regular-season title with Paly, in its first season as a team.

The teams split their head-to-head showdowns during the season, setting up an expected battle in the league tournament. Gunn wound up with a 398 score to hold off the Vikings' 400.

Gunn junior Anna Zhou paced the Titans with a 3-under 70. She had an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole in addition to carding four birdies — two in the final two holes to help wrap up the title. Zhou also won the BVAL tournament last season and is the defending CCS individual champ.

Gunn senior Jayshree Sarathy shot a 3-over 76, Tiffany Yang carded an 80, Lianna McFarlane-Connelly came home with an 85 and Margaret Redfield shot 87 to round out the scoring. McFarlane-Connelly had an eagle 2 on the 312-yard par-4 eighth hole when she holed out a 7-iron from about 120 yards.

Palo Alto was led by junior Michelle Xie's 1-under 72. Annie Chen shot 78, Emily Hwang an 81, Audrey Horn 83 and Celia Wilner an 86 to round out the scoring.

"Tough match today, tough to lose," said Paly coach Doyle Knight. "My top three stayed with Gunn's top three, which I figured on. I was hoping for a few strokes less from 4,5, 6, (but) they all played great. Annie Chen got and eagle on hole 2, made a nice long putt.

"I'm hoping to make it to CCS, but would have rather made it as an automatic, rather than at-large."

The two lowest scores came from players competing as individuals. Kelsey Kawaguchi of Los Altos shot a 67 and Jessica Luo of Lynbrook shot 69.

At the PAL Tournament at Poplar Creek in San Mateo, Menlo-Atherton had three of its six players earn all-league honors by finishing among the top 10.

Freshman Naomi Lee shot 83 for fifth overall, freshman Abigail Pederson finished eighth with an 87 and senior Ashley Utz carded a 90 for 10th place. Whether or not the Bears advance will depend on scores from other tournaments this week.

M-A also got a 96 from sophomore Margaret Sten, a 104 from freshman Angie Yang and a 107 from freshman Christina Park.

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