Palo Alto divers give swim teams head start with league titles


The Palo Alto girls' swimming and diving team is already on its way to defending its SCVAL De Anza Division meet championship and the first swim events aren't until Friday at Saratoga High.

Senior diver Grace Greenwood helped give the Vikings a solid start by successfully defending her league title on Tuesday. She scored 424.60 points for the 11 dives.

"She did an awesome job," said Paly coach Danny Dye "She has been working on higher DD (degree of difficuly) and getting ready for her senior year at CCS. She is looking good and is going to compete with the other top three girls (at CCS).I am so proud of her growth and efforts!"

Palo Alt junior Emma Miller took third with 339.85 points.

"She has improved from her level of a point getter at CCS last year and should do well this year," Dye said.

Paly sophomores Serena Yee and Nadya Nee finished sixth (289.35) and seventh (283.65), respectively.

"Both of them have been working on new dives and have time to improve and could sneak in to the top 16 at CCS," Dye said.

The Paly girls scored 61 points, the same total earned by the boys -- led by Cole Plambeck's victory of 456.95 points.

"He did a great job and has improved quite a bit from his great freshman year," Dye said of his standout sophomore. "His score was a little better than last year at CCS, but he, too, is working on new dives and hoping to score even higher.

"(Senior) Jordan Zenger gave the team a big boost by getting second. His score of 353.40 was better than his score at CCS last year and he should be able to get top-8 (at CCS). Alex Francis helped out with a sixth-place finish with a score of 276.10, also better than his score at CCS and he should be able to improve on his finish at CCS from last year.

"For the boys," Dye continued, "it was a boost to get the scores we did and help with points in what is going to be a tight and exciting league meet. The kids did awesome and it was a great day on the boards for Paly."

The Gunn boys scored 43 points as Miko Mallari took fourth with 334.15 points.

"He did a nice job, and has fined-tuned some of his dives," Dye said. "He should be able to score pretty well at CCS and help his team. Josh Kern also did a nice job. He scored 252.25 and placed seventh."

Gunn's Blaze Lee, who wrestles during the winter, helped out with a ninth-place finish scoring 232.20 and Varun Bhadkamkar finished 10th with a score of 222.95.

For the Gunn girls, Louise McGregor finished eighth with a score of 270.85. Rebecca Vincent finished 10th at 220.95 and Jessica Sun got 11th with a score of 217.70.


Jack Witte singled home Will Glazier in the bottom of the fifth, capping a three-run rally that gave the Palo Alto baseball team a 4-3 victory over Los Altos in the first game of a best-of-three series to open the SCVAL De Anza Division playoffs on Tuesday. Palo Alto (21-7) will visit Los Altos (16-10) in Game 2 of the series on Thursday at 3:30 p.m., with a victory sending the Vikings into next week's playoff finals. Wilcox beat Homestead, 7-2, to open that series.

Witte had three of Paly's six hits with B.J. Boyd adding two. T.J. Braff, Glazier, Witte and Drake Swezey all drove in runs in support of Ben Sneider's complete-game eight-hitter. He struck out six and walked just one. Sneider's earned-run average is now a team-leading 0.66 with only seven earned runs allowed in 74 1/3 innings.

Boys' golf

A handful of Gunn and Palo Alto players are headed to next week's Central Coast Section regionals in Carmel Valley following the conclusion of the SCVAL team and individual championships.

On Monday at Coyote Creek Golf Club in San Jose, Gunn and Palo Alto both shot 409 in the team competition to tie for second. Saratoga won the team title with a score of 400. Gunn earned the league's second automatic bid to CCS by virtue of a tiebreaker. Paly also may qualify for CCS as an at-large team, which will be decided Thursday.

Anson Cheng led Gunn with a 78 while Avinash Sharma shot 81 and Vincent Yang an 82. Michael Yuan led Paly with a 78 while Sam Niethammer shot 79 and Grant Raffel an 81.

In the individual competition that started Monday at Coyote and concluded Tuesday at San Juan Oaks in Hollister, Sharma of Gunn and Raffel of Palo Alto tied for third with 36-hole scores of 154 after both shot 73 in their second rounds.

Raffel and teammates Yuan (159) and Niethammer (160) were among the seven SCVAL players who qualified for CCS as individuals.

Girls' lacrosse

With sophomore Michaela Michael scoring seven goals and finishing with 10 points, Menlo School rolled to a 25-10 victory over host Menlo-Atherton on Tuesday. The Knights improved to 7-0 in the West Bay Athletic League (15-6 overall) while the Bears fell to 2-4 in league (8-7 overall).

M-A actually grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals by Bridget Magana and Becca Higgitt in the opening 4:48. After Brooke Bullington and Ali Kim scored for Menlo, the Bears' Sydney Novak-Federmeyer scored her first of five goals to take back the lead at 3-2 with 18:08 to play. Menlo bounced back with four unanswered goals and never trailed again, taking a 16-7 lead into halftime.

Menlo's Michael now has 97 goals (No. 2 in the nation) and 124 points, which likely moved her up from No. 6 nationally in that category. The Knights will conclude the regular season on Friday at home against Burlingame at 5:30 p.m., before heading into the WBAL playoffs next week.

Also in Atherton, freshman Caroline Cummings scored seven goals and added an assist with senior Julia Keller tallying three goals and adding three assists to lead Sacred Heart Prep to a 16-8 victory over visiting Castilleja on Tuesday to wrap up second place in the WBAL. Kendall Cody added two goals for the Gators (8-2, 15-7) while Martha Harding and Charlotte Geaghan-Breiner scored three goals each for Castilleja.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn got three goals from Katie-rose Skelly and two from Nora Shevick in a 6-5 victory over host Leland in San Jose. Madison Sabbag also scored for the Titans while goalie Helen Carefoot had 10 saves.


Amy Yamamura pitched a two-hitter and helped herself with three hits and three RBI as Castilleja romped to a 17-1 nonleague victory over host Gunderson on Tuesday in a game shortened to five innings by the 10-run mercy rule. Tobi Amos added two hits and Mandi Shore contributed two hits and drove in a run as the Gators improved to 9-11.

In the PAL Ocean Division, Menlo-Atherton rolled to a 14-4 victory over host El Camino as Katie Vallarino won her fourth game with a five-hitter and helped herself by getting two hits and driving in three runs.

Nicole Hernandez led the 13-hit parade with three hits and two RBI while Erin LaPorte added two hits and two RBI. Lauren Diller had two hits, one a triple, and Alexis Guitron had three RBI and Monica Vasquez had two for the Bears (3-3, 9-7).

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto dropped a 6-4 decision to visiting Wilcox (5-4, 8-16) on Tuesday. Maya Padilla had three hits for the Vikings (4-5, 7-15) while Gracie Marshall added two hits and drove in two runs. Hannah Bundy also had two hits for the Vikings.

Homestead (9-0) continues to lead the league after handing second-place Los Gatos (8-2) a 12-4 loss on Tuesday. The Vikings are in fourth, but could have passed third-place Wilcox by beating the Chargers.

Paly visits last-place Mountain View (0-9) on Thursday before hosting Gunn in a nonleague game Friday. The Vikings will close their regular season by hosting Homestead on May 12.

In the WBAL, Menlo School (5-3, 6-3) dropped a 2-1 decision in eight innings to host Harker (6-2), which moved ahead of the Knights in the league standings.

— Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online

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