All-state football honors for Paly;
von Kaeppler joins her sister at Yale
The Palo Alto football team received what appeared to be its final big honor of the season last Friday when the Vikings were presented with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy, as part of the sixth annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions.
Palo Alto finished No. 13 in the final MaxPreps national rankings to qualify as one of 50 schools being honored.
On Monday, however, there were more honors for Palo Alto as senior Kevin Anderson was one of four Vikings named to the 32nd annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Football Team.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Anderson, who has verbally committed to Stanford, was a dominant player at defensive end for the Vikings during their school record-breaking 14-0 season that was capped with a 15-13 victory over Centennial (Corona) in the CIF State Division I bowl championship game in December. Anderson finished the season with 103 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks. He was named to the first-team defensive unit.
Fellow two-way starter T.J. Braff was named to the all-state second team on defense while Paly senior quarterback Christoph Bono and wide receiver Maurice Williams were named to the third team on offense. Braff had a team-leading 170 tackles this season (12.1 per game) while Bono completed 165 of 251 passes for 2,690 yards and 30 touchdowns. Williams caught 27 passes for 791 yards (an average of 29.2 yards per catch) with 11 touchdowns.
Three other local players received all-state honors in the Small Schools division.
Menlo School senior wide receiver Tim Benton was named to the first team on offense along with Sacred Heart Prep senior offensive lineman Brian Moran. Sacred Heart Prep senior linebacker Hunter Shaw received second-team all-state recognition on defense.
Benton caught 68 passes for 1,406 yards and 12 touchdowns this season while Shaw had 116 tackles (an average of 9.7 per game). The 6-7, 295-pound Moran was a force in the offensive and defensive lines for the Gators, who won their first-ever Central Coast Section Division IV title in 2010.
Girls' basketballCastilleja senior Natasha von Kaeppler will be among the Yale women's basketball team Class of 2015, as announced Thursday by Yale head coach Chris Gobrecht.
The 6-foot von Kaeppler is a two-time captain for the Gators. Academically, von Kaeppler is a National Merit Semifinalist. On the court, she is a four-year starter.
Through 17 games this season, von Kaeppler was averaging 20.3 points, 13.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 3.0 steals, and 3.65 blocks per game. She is currently third on the Gators' all-time scoring list (1,508 points). She is the school's all-time leader in rebounds (1,176), double-doubles (57), field-goal percentage (.454), and steals (304), and she is second in blocks (254), trailing only her sister Ericka (271).
"Natasha gives us another forward that gives us some size, but she could play the 4 or the 3 and she is a young player who just gets better and better every time I watch her play," Gobrecht said. "She is a strong rebounder and a very aggressive player."
She joins her sister, Ericka, currently a sophomore forward for the Bulldogs, as the first pair of sisters coached by Gobrecht during her tenure at Yale and the third set of sisters in her coaching career.
Sacred Heart Prep's Abby Dahlkemper and Geena Graumann will sign a national letter of intent on Feb. 2 to continue their playing careers in college. Dahlkemper is headed to UCLA and Graumann is ticketed for USC. Palo Alto's Helen Butler will sign with Virginia Tech while teammate Alex Kershner is headed to Duke.
Boys' water polo
It was quite a 2010 season for the seniors on the Menlo School boys' water polo team. Not only did the Knights defend their PAL Bay Division title, but they splashed their way to the Central Coast Section Division II championship.
To top it all off, all five seniors made early commitments to play water polo in college. Kyle Bowman is headed to MIT, Jacob Dorn is going to Johns Hopkins, Jack Finch is headed to Navy, John Holland-McCowan will continue his career at Harvard and Keegan Williams will play for Bucknell.
"It is so rare, especially in this day and age, that every senior on a team is recruited by their top college choice and then earn admission, and all early-decision, especially at the caliber of schools that these student-athletes have pursued," Menlo School coach Jack Bowen said.
The Knights are coming off a season during which they won the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division crown before capping off the season with a CCS title. Menlo also finished fifth among CCS boys' water polo teams in the CCS scholastic competition.
"It's a real testament to the commitment of the players in our program to "Be Your Best," both in and out of the pool," Bowen added. "The schools they have selected are all great fits for them, respectively, and given what I have come to know about these young men, I know they will continue to thrive in all aspects of this next chapter in their lives."
Other Menlo seniors who committed to their respective colleges in the early signing period included: Jake Bruml (baseball), Pomona College; Allie Frappier (volleyball), Yale; Patrick Grimes (golf), Stanford; Whitney Hooper (basketball), New York University; Hailey Smith (water polo), Maryland; and Robert Wickers (football), Brown.
Gunn senior Stefan Weidemann made some school history by winning the 152-pound division at the Mid-Cal Invitational on Saturday at Gilroy High. Weidemann is the first Gunn wrestler ever to win a title in the prestigious event and now is 15-0 this season, with 12 wins coming by pin.
"Stefan had a great game plan and executed it perfectly," said Gunn coach Chris Horpel. "The Mid-Cals are a good indicator to see if you are ready for CCS and State. Seven of the top 10 teams were from other sections . . . we even had out-of-state representation there."
Weidemann scored 42 team points while finishing 5-0 in the two-day meet. Gunn finished 28th in the 70-team event with 75.5 points.
After opening with a bye, Weidemann pinned Arthur Georgiyev of South San Francisco) in 2:53. Weidemann followed that up with a pin over Jose Cardenas of Seaside in 3:16.
In the quarterfinals, Weidemann won by decision over Charles Yllan of Madera South), 9-1. That earned Weidemann a berth in the semifinals, where he won by decision over Johnathan Gonzalez of Santa Teresa), 6-2. In the championship match, Weidemann won by decision over Isiah Morfin of Selma, 3-0.
Weidemann came into the tournament ranked No. 16 in the state by TheCaliforniaWrestler.com.
Two other Gunn wrestlers made it to Saturday's action -- sophomore Eric Cramer (119) and junior Chris Jin (145). Cramer went 4-2 and scored 12 points while coming within one match of also bringing home a medal. He won three matches by pin and missed a medal following a 2-1 loss to Robb Rodriguez of San Benito in Round 6 of the consolation bracket.
While the regular-season tournament schedule is over for Gunn, the Titans have three dual meets remaining in the SCVAL El Camino Division before the SCVAL Championships, where Gunn and Fremont likely will contend for the title.
Meanwhile, Palo Alto junior Kalen Gans made it to the championship match at 162 pounds before dropping a 9-2 decision to Adam Busch of Castro Valley. Busch was ranked No. 2 at 171 pounds in the North Coast Section and No. 15 in the state.
Gans did defeat Chris McCallaCreary of Harker in the semifinals, 14-5. McCallaCreary was ranked No. 1 in the Central Coast Section at 160 pounds, a spot Gans now occupies.
The Vikings finished 26th as a team with 80 points. Menlo-Atherton also competed, finishing 51st with 36 points.