Gunn's Zhou wins CCS golf title and helps Titans qualify for the NorCal Championships
When Chris Redfield put together the first-ever Gunn girls' golf team, it's doubtful he realized just how good it might be. As it turned out, the Titans were pretty good.
Despite having only two veteran players and a handful of newcomers, the Titans went 10-0 and won the Blossom Valley Athletic League (Santa Teresa Division) title. On top of that, Gunn then captured the BVAL Tournament crown to earn a berth into the Central Coast Section Tournament.
And it gets evern better.
On Tuesday, Gunn sophomore Anna Zhou improved upon her runner-up finish from last year and captured individual honors at the CCS Championships at Rancho Canada (East Course) in Carmel Valley.
Zhou fired a 4-under-par 68 to help the Titans finish second in the team race with 403 strokes and qualify for Monday's CIF NorCal Girls Golf Championships at Brookside Country Club in Stockton.
Zhou's round incluced a stretch of two birdies and an eagle —on the 439-yard par-5 16th — in her final seven holes.
The 68 was Zhou's best 18-hole score. Her previous best was 69. Zhou shot 70 to finish tied for second at the 2011 CCS finals.
Gunn junior Jayshree Sarathy shot 74 and freshman teammate Tiffany Yang added a 79. Lianna McFarlane-Connelly shot 89 and Somina Lee carded a season-best 93 to round out the Titans' historic effort. Gunn was the only public school to finish among the top five teams.
"Our team score of 403 was good enough to win the CCS team competition in any other year (but this one)," said Redfield.
Valley Christian won the team title with a 402 score. Presentation was third with the same score (419) as St. Ignatius, but won a two-hole playoff (21-19) to earn the third berth for NorCals. Castilleja missed out on advancing by taking fifth (437).
Chloe Sales and Nicole Mitchell led Castilleja with identical 83s with senior Taylor Wilkerson (84), Danielle Mitchell (92) and Caroline Debs (95) rounded out the Gators' scoring.
Menlo-Atherton's Xin Fang shot a 5-over 77 but did not qualify for NorCals, nor did Menlo School's Jessie Rong (79) and Caroline Broderick (87) or Pinewood's Allison Beers (89).
Every member of the Gunn team will compete as individuals at NorCals, as well, with the opportunity of advancing to the state championships.
It was a big day for local players as three of them captured titles at their respective individual tournaments on Wednesday and one doubles squad reached a championship match.
At the SCVAL De Anza Division tournament at Monta Vista High, Palo Alto junior Aashli Budhijara completed her run through the singles bracket by defeating highly regarded Wendi Kong of Monta Vista, 7-5, 2-6, 3-2 (retired). Kong is the No. 1 singles player on the top-ranked team in Northern California.
Earlier in the day, Budhiraja polished off Juliette Martin of Los Altos, 6-0, 6-4, in the semifinals. Budhiraja advanced past the quarterfinals with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 triumph over Monta Vista's Ruri Kobayakawa on Tuesday.
At the SCVAL El Camino Division tournament at Fremont High, Gunn's Alice Li captured the singles title and teammates Antoinette Nguyen and Anjali Herekar finished third by beating teammates Devyani Bhadkamkar-Ebba Nord.
Li topped Keaensa Snouffer of Los Gatos, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, while Herekar and Nguyen posted a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over their teammates. Li advanced to the finals with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Hannah Huang of Homestead.
At the West Bay Athletic League tournament at Menlo School, sophomore Liz Yao of Menlo needed two days to complete her singles championship match with Paulette Wolak of Castilleja, but the wait was well worth it as Yao won her first league title with a 6-3, 6-1 triumph.
Yao was leading, 6-3, 2-0 on Tuesday when the match was suspended due to darkness. The two returned to the courts to finish the match less than 24 hours later.
Wolak was the top singles player from the lower WBAL Skyline Division while leading the Gators to the division title — earning Castilleja a promotion to the Foothill Division next season. Thus, it was appropriate that the top players from each division met in the title match.
Wolak showed that she deserved a shot at the overall title by upending three-time champ Giannina Ong of Menlo in the semifinals on Tuesday, 6-0, 6-3. Yao, meanwhile, moved up after losing in the second round last season.
At the Peninsula Athletic League tournament at Burlingame High, Menlo-Atherton's tandem of Lindy LaPlante and Erin LaPorte won a pair of matches on Wednesday to reach the championship on Thursday.
Teammate Emily Andrew, however, fell in the singles semifinals.
On Monday, the Gunn girls accomplished a number of things by defeating Homestead, 4-2, in a playoff match to decide the SCVAL El Camino Division title at Monta Vista High in Cupertino.
The victory gave the Titans the division's automatic berth into the CCS tournament, which begins next week, and moves Gunn (13-8) up to the De Anza Division next season.
Gunn's Laurie Perng won her No. 4 singles match, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, to give Gunn its victory. Both teams had gone 11-1 during the regular season.
Homestead picked up its points in singles, but Gunn swept the doubles. Sophia Han and Angela Juang posted a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 1, Ebba Nord and Devyani Bhadkamkar registered the same score at No. 2 and Antoinete Nguyen and Anjali Herekar captured No. 3 doubles with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph.