Sweeping four events and getting double wins from E.J. Floreal, Victor Du and Maurice Williams, the Palo Alto boys' track and field team wrapped up second place in the SCVAL De Anza Division with an 81-46 triumph over visiting Gunn on Thursday in the schools' annual showdown.
Palo Alto will take a 5-1 dual record into next week's league championships at Gunn, needing to overtake first-place Mountain View for the overall crown.
"I liked the fact that people are starting to get into championship mode," said Paly coach Jason Fung. "You have to make people realize what a force we will be next week. The kids stepped up big today."
Floreal, in his first season of competing, won the 400 in 53.62 but really opened some eyes with a sizzling 22.48 to win the 200. Williams ran the second leg on the winning 400 relay (44.05), sped to a wind-aided 10.94 victory in the 100 and leaped a season-best 22-1 to take the long jump. Du won the triple jump (40-10) and high jump (6-0) as the Vikings outscored the Titans in the field events, 29-16.
Palo Alto's Grant Sauer won the 110 high hurdles in a personal best of 14.81, the No. 2 mark in the Central Coast Section this season. Floreal's 200 time ranks No. 10.
Rory Runser paced Gunn (4-2) by sweeping the 1600 (4:38.87) and 3200 (10:19.65) for the day's toughest double on a windy day.
In the girls' meet, Gunn got a 25-2 bulge in the three longest races and ran away from host Palo Alto, 75-52, in a SCVAL De Anza Division regular-season finale. Gunn will take a 5-1 dual record into next Thursday's league finals on their own track, hoping to overtake first-place Mountain View. Paly finished 3-3.
Gunn went one-two in the 1600 with sisters Erin (5:26.55) and Sarah Robinson (5:26.69) finishing within steps of each other. In the 3200, it was Sarah winning in 12:39.52 while Erin was just behind in 12:39.81. The Titans swept the 800 with Kieran Gallagher (2:42.10) jogging home a winner while trailed by the Robinson sisters, all three finishing within .09 of each other. Ebba Nord swept the 100 (12.82) and 200 (27.60) as Gunn outscored Paly in running events, 59-23, on the cold and windy day.
Helen Butler produced a good winning triple jump of 34-9 ¼ for Paly while teammate Torie Nielsen added a victory in the long jump (15-4 ½). Gunn, however, had too much depth and first-place points to be overtaken.
Charlotte Biffar and Kimmie Flather each scored four goals to pace Palo Alto to a 14-5 victory over visiting Leland on Thursday as the Vikings improved to 8-1 in the SCVAL De Anza Division (9-7 overall). Paly raced to a 7-3 halftime lead and got goals from six different players. Nina Kelty added three goals while Emy Kelty scored once and added two assists.
In the West Bay Athletic League, Menlo School all but wrapped up the Foothill Division title by holding off second-place Sacred Heart Prep, 18-15, in a crucial showdown on Thursday on the Gators' field. The Knights solidified their first-place standing at 6-0 (14-6 overall) while the Gators fell to 5-2 (13-6).
Sacred Heart had dropped the first meeting with Menlo, 23-9, but the Gators showed a lot of improvement while threatening to upset the Knights, who were playing their third league match in four days. Sophomore Michaela Michael led Menlo with six goals while freshman Caroline Cummings paced SHP with seven.
The Gators grabbed a 9-8 lead on one of Kendall Cody's five goals, but the Knights jumped out to a 12-9 lead on goals by Ali Kim, Elyse Adler, Brooke Bullington and Kacie Madeira. Two goals by Cummings and one by Cody made it 12-12. After a Menlo time out, Cody put the Gators back on top before the Knights scored four unanswered goals to lock it up.
Menlo sophomore goalie Hannah Rubin had 11 saves in a standout performance. Emily Westerfield had eight for SHP.
Saratoga won the first three events and finished with five, but Palo Alto came on strong behind freshman sprinter Andrew Liang to post a 105-78 victory in a highly competitive SCVAL De Anza Division regular-season finale for both teams at the Mackenzie Aquatic Center at Palo Alto.
Liang ended Saratoga's string of victories by taking the 50 free in 22.23 before teammate Cole Plambeck won the diving. Two events later, Liang posted a 49.15 victory in the 100 free. Paly finished with seven wins, including solid times of 1:31.75 to win the 200 free relay and 3:17.90 to take the 400 free relay with Liang swimming on both. Paly finished 5-1 in league (7-1 overall) while helping coach Danny Dye win his 100th career dual meet.
"It means that I have been blessed enough to have some truly wonderful and gifted athletes come through here to swim for me," said Dye, when asked about the 100th title. "I never really thought about the total, but the credit goes to the athletes who have put in so much time and effort to make the program a success."
In the West Bay Athletic League, Sacred Heart Prep remained unbeaten following a 114-56 dual-meet victory over visiting Harker on Thursday. The Gators will put their perfect mark on the line next Wednesday against unbeaten Menlo School in the Knights' pool (4 p.m.) to decide the league's dual-meet title.
Tom Kremer paced SHP with a solid 1:57.21 victory in the 200 IM and came back with a 48.41 triumph in the 100 free on the cold and windy day. Sacred Heart swept all three relays with Kremer only needed on one of them as he led off the 400 free relay. Andrew Savage took the 50 free in a solid 22.78 and Bret Hinrichs won the 200 free (1:51.15) and swam on two winning relays.
Also in the WBAL, Menlo School remained unbeaten and tuned up for next week's showdown with unbeaten Sacred Heart Prep by swamping visiting Pinewood, 121-34, in a dual meet on Thursday. Menlo improved to 3-0 in league (4-1 overall) by winning with its depth of speed, despite fast swim's by Pinewood's Ted Lim. Standout Menlo swims include junior Wade Avery's victory in the 50 free, which qualified him for CCS, and the team's 200 freestyle relay.
In the PAL Bay Division, Evan Navarro sped to a pair of fast victories as Menlo-Atherton overcame a loss in the opening 200 medley relay and rolled to a 101-65 dual-meet victory over visiting Aragon in PAL Bay Division action on Thursday. The Bears (6-0) moved closer to wrapping up a perfect season as Navarro clocked 48.98 to win the 100 free and 1:47.88 while taking the 200 free, both quality CCS times.
Navarro also swam legs on the winning 200 free (1:31.63) and 400 free (3:27.42) relay teams, as did Kei Masuda and Nick Henze. Both added two individual wins, as well. Masuda took the 200 IM and 100 back while Henze added a fast 50 free (22.58) and came back to win the 500 free in a season best of 4:56.85.
Winning 11 of 12 events, Palo Alto wrapped up the SCVAL De Anza Division dual-meet championship with a 134-51 victory over visiting Saratoga on Thursday. The Vikings finished 6-0 in league (8-0 overall) and next will defend their title at the league championships at Saratoga.
Palo Alto cruised to victory on the cold day as Jasmine Tosky and Sabrina Lee each won a pair of events and swam legs on two winning relay teams. Tosky swam a rare 50 free and won it in 24.15. She added a 56.36 triumph in the 100 fly, which she won at CCS last season. Lee took the 100 free (54.48) and 100 back (59.38) and joined with Tosky on the 200 medley (1:53.30) and 400 free relays (3:47.58). Paly's Kim Hallsted won the 500 free in a personal best of 5:15.53.
In the West Bay Athletic League, Sacred Heart Prep took over sole possession of first place by dunking previously unbeaten Harker, 101-61, in a dual-meet showdown on Thursday in Atherton.
Freshman Ally Howe took the 200 IM (2:06.52) and 100 back (57.63) in addition to swimming legs on the winning 200 medley (1:53.28) and 400 free (3:50.67) relays. Howe was expecting to face defending CCS champ Jessica Khojasteh of Harker in the 200 IM, but Khojasteh instead swam the 100 free (52.95) and 100 breast (1:07.91) and won both with impressive times. Erica Myers helped keep the Gators unbeaten by winning the 200 free (2:03.02) and 500 free (5:19.93).
Also in the WBAL, Menlo School (83) splashed to a tri-meet victory over visiting Pinewood (43) and Mercy-San Francisco (19) as junior Isabelle Stepien took the 10o free and 100 back and sophomore Alyssa Meyer claimed victory in the 200 and 400 frees. Menlo seniors Morgan Cundiff and Hailey Smith also contributed with first-place finishes in the 100 fly and 50 free, respectively, as the Knights improved to 2-5 in the league.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton swept all three relays and got two individual wins from freshman Kindle Van Linge as the Bears remained unbeaten with a 98.5-69.5 dual-meet victory and stayed tied atop the standings with Burlingame. The Bears and Panthers will meet next week to decide the regular-season title.
Van Linge took the 50 free (25.87) and the 500 free (5:38.83) and swam legs on the winning 200 medley (2:00.98) and 400 free (3:59.87) relay teams. Holly Chen added a win in the 100 breast (1:15.66) and freshman Nicole Zanolli won the 200 free (2:03.54) as M-A improved to 6-0.
Menlo-Atherton's junior brother tandem of Christian and Jesse Perkins will play teammates Zeke Brown and Matt Giordano in the doubles finale of the Peninsula Athletic League Individual Tournament at Burlingame High after both squads won quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Thursday.