by Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
When it comes to the annual track and field dual meet between Palo Alto and Gunn, times are not important. Only place and points matter in the annual showdown for city bragging rights. Most often, the teams pull out all the stops to win.
That is why Thursday's latest meeting between the schools offered something different for the first time -- one school helping the other.
Actually, it was Palo Alto senior Philip MacQuitty offering a helpful hand to Gunn senior Paul Summers in the mile.
"This was his last mile in high school," Gunn coach Ernie Lee said of Summers, who will focus on the 3200 meters the remainder of the season.
Lee and Summers talked about the final mile race a few weeks ago and decided upon a time of 4:20 as a target goal. At the same time, MacQuitty was thinking about trying to break the Paly school record in the two-mile at the Gunn-Paly dual meet.
Discussions ensued and it was finally agreed upon that MacQuitty would help Summers try to reach is goal by pacing him. Summers, in return, agreed to pace MacQuitty in his record attempt at the annual CCS Top 8 meet, which is being held Friday at Los Gatos High.
MacQuitty will attempt to break 9:00 for the first time in his career with Summers pulling him through the first 1 1/2 miles or so. MacQuitty has to hope Summers' performance in Los Gatos will produce a better result than MacQuitty's on Thursday.
Despite MacQuitty setting a quick pace while pulling Summers along with shouts of 'You can do it', Summers finished in 4:21.40 after running the final lap solo.
The interesting race was pretty much just that, as Gunn wound up dropping the boys' meet, 72-54, while the Gunn girls ran away with a 74-52 victory in their competition on the pleasant afternon on the Titans' track.
The Gunn boys simply did not have the depth or first-place points to contend with Paly, which got three individual victories from junior Maurice Williams. The football player/sprinter/horizontal jumper won the 100 in 11.42 and added victories in the long jump (21-5 1/2 and triple jump (41-6 1/2) for a strong all-around effort.
Grant Sauer added big first-place points by sweeping the 110 high hurdles (16.99) and 300 intermediates (47.14) in addition to adding a third place in the long jump. Palo Alto (4-1) piled up a 31-14 advantage in the field events to hold off the Titans (4-2).
Gunn, which swept both relays, was much closer in the running events while losing that battle, 41-40.
In the girls' meet, Gunn won eight of 10 races and ran away with a 74-52 dual-meet victory in the annual SCVAL De Anza Division showdown.
Sophomore Kieran Gallagher led the Titans (5-1) by winning the 400 (1:02.64) and 800 (2:21.30). Kianna Choroski swept the hurdles, taking the 100 highs in 16.38 and the 300 hurdles in 49.93. Gunn senior Sunny Margerum limited her day to just winning the 100 in 12.75 while nursing an ankle injury. Claire O'Connell (mile) and Erin Robinson (2 mile) swept the distance events for Gunn while Katerina Peterson won the shot put and discus to pace the Vikings (2-3).
Margerum pulled out of the long jump to protect her ankle, saving herself for a big effort at the CCS Top 8 meet. She'll run both hurdle races against defending CCS champ Katie Nelms of Leland in addition to going in the long jump. Nelms will run for Stanford next season while Margerum competes for Cal.
Palo Alto will send its girls' 400 relay to the Top 8 meet after running a season best of 50.19 at Gunn on Thursday. Daniel Jones of Paly is scheduled in the boys' 100, as well.
The Top 8 meet will be the last big gathering of the section's top athletes before the CCS finals on May 28 in Gilroy.