By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Kevin Morris had plenty to be pleased with after watching his Sacred Heart Prep boys' and girls' swim teams splash to easy victories while defending their West Bay Athletic League titles on Thursday in the Gators' pool.
Sacred Heart won seven events in each division as the girls piled up 513 points and the boys totaled 559 and both squads looked ready to go for next weekend's Central Coast Section championships.
In the girls' division, SHP freshman Ally Howe set two meet records and one school record to help lead the way despite swimming through the meet untapered or shaved.
Howe swam automatic All-American times while winning the 200 IM in a meet and school record of 2:02.29 and taking the 100 fly in a meet record of 54.81, another automatic All-American time. She also swam on the winning 200 medley relay and first-place 200 free relay that clocked a meet record of 1:40.94.
SHP's Erin Sheridan also swam on the 200 free relay in addition to winning the 50 free (24.59) and 100 free (53.65) in season-best times. SHP's Eliza Henderson also swam a season best while upending favored Kendall Marie Owens of King's Academy in the 500 free. Henderson clocked 5:26.76.
In the boys' meet, Sacred Heart Prep junior Tom Kremer broke two meet records and one school mark and swam on two winning relays as the Gators successfully defended their title. Menlo School was second with 429 points.
Kremer, one of the top talents in the CCS, clocked automatic All-American times while winning the 200 IM in a meet record of 1:53.25 and the 100 fly in a sizzling 50.26, which also broke the school record of 51.58 set in 2007 by Kameron Flores-Maxfield. Kremer also helped the 200 medley and 400 free relays to solid victories.
Winning the 400 free relay was especially satisfying for Morris.
"We had already used Andrew Savage and Tom Kremer in the first two relays, and so our depth had to carry the day to win that last relay," explained Morris. "In particular, the last two splits were crazy: Mackey McGibben (who got his first-ever CCS cut at trials in the 50 free) went a 49.12. He'd never even broken 52 before in his life. And then Bret Hinrichs' last split of 48.29 was his fastest, and he's not yet tapered."
SHP showed off its depth by taking the top four places in the 200 free with junior Max McKelvy surprising the field with a CCS-qualifying 1:49.47, his season best. The Gators also swept the 500 free with Joe Wise leading the way in 4:54.17.
"Max McKelvy's swim was certainly a highlight," said Morris. "Eliza Henderson and Joe Wise winning the 500 free was fantastic. For Eliza and Joe, what a great way to wrap up their swimming careers. For both of them, it was their first league championship. Eliza was behind at the beginning and then pulled ahead at the end, while Joe wouldn't let those two freshmen (Harrison Enright and Chris Hinrichs) beat him, so he just pulled away in the first lap and never looked back.
"Overall, an amazing two days," Morris said of the trials and finals. "We got six new CCS qualifiers during the two days -- Ally Flessel, Scott Jollymour, Mackey McGibben, Max McKelvy, and Robert Dunlevie."
Getting a standout pitching effort from Graham Marchant, who tossed seven innings of relief, the Palo Alto baseball team forced a challenge game in the SCVAL De Anza Division championship playoffs with a 10-1 victory over visiting Wilcox on Thursday.
The Vikings (23-9) and Chargers (25-6) will decide the best-of-three series on Friday at Wilcox, with the first pitch at 3:30 p.m. Both teams will advance to the Central Coast Section playoffs next week.
After starter Kevin Kannappan gave up a first-inning run with two walks and a hit, that was enough for Paly coach Erick Raich. In came Marchant, who threw seven innings of two-hit ball with four strikeouts and no walks. He had plenty of support as the Vikings pounded out 14 hits, two going for home runs by John Dickerson (a two-run shot) and Drake Swezey. B.J. Boyd and Will Glazier each had three hits while Austin Braff, Jack Witte and Swezey contributed two each.
In Milpitas, Gunn wrapped up its SCVAL El Camino Division season with a 6-5 loss to the Trojans. Miles Sturken had three hits, including a triple, and drove in two runs for the Titans (7-7, 13-11-1).
Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep, the top two teams in the West Bay Athletic League during the regular season, appropriately will meet for the WBAL playoff championship on Saturday at Woodside High at 9 a.m.
Both teams advanced to the finals following high-scoring victories on Thursday.
Sacred Heart Prep (17-7) got five goals and an assist from freshman Caroline Cummings and three goals with two assists from Kendall Cody and Michelle Gonia to hold off visiting Burlingame, 16-11. Julia Keller added three goals and one assist while Melissa Holland contributed two goals and an assist against last season's playoff runnerup.
Just down the road at the same time, regular-season champ Menlo (17-6) earned the right to defend its championship with a 24-8 blasting of visiting Castilleja. Sophomore Michaela Michael led the way with seven goals and three assists while sophomore Ali Kim scored five times and added two assists. Junior Sophie Sheeline finished with three goals and an assist while Castilleja junior Martha Harding led the Gators with three goals.
Menlo coach Jen Lee had 12 contributors to her team's 35 total points, with 11 of the 24 goals being assisted.
Menlo and Sacred Heart Prep already have played twice this season with the Knights winning both times.
First-place Homestead proved too tough as the Palo Alto softball team closed its season with a hard-fought 5-3 loss in SCVAL De Anza Division action on Thursday. The Vikings (6-6, 10-16) scored their three runs on only three hits and did a good job of limiting the Mustangs (12-0), who put the game away with a three-run third inning.
Boys' track and field
Leo Koloamataghi swept the shot put and discus, Nico Robinson did the same in the hurdles and Tyler McCool won the long and triple jumps to help Sacred Heart Prep successfully defend its West Bay Athletic League title on Thursday on a windy day at College of San Mateo.
The Gators scored 138 points to barely hold off neighborhood rival Menlo School, second with 135. The Knights finished ahead of the Gators in the final 1,600 relay, but the point swing wasn't enough to prevent SHP from defending.
Koloamataghi produced winning marks of 43-3 ¼ in the shot put and 137-0 in the discus to help the Gators sweep the field events. McCool added victories in the long jump (19-5 ¾) and triple jump (40-5 ¾) with teammate Cameron Van taking the high jump at 6 feet. Robinson won the 110 highs (16.17) and 300 intermediate hurdles (42.08) with Will Morgan adding a victory in the 100 in 11.64, just holding off Lawrence VanHook of Eastside Prep (11.65).
Sam Parker led Menlo by winning the 800 (1:58.21) and 1,600 (4:35.03). Teammate Matt Myers added a victory in the 3,200 (10:23.95) in addition to taking second in the 1,600.
The top two finishers advanced to the Central Coast Section trials at Gilroy High on May 21.
Girls' track and field
Kat Gregory of Priory swept the distance races and Maggie Fong of Sacred Heart Prep swept the short sprints, but it was Mercy-Burlingame taking the team title at the West Bay Athletic League championships on Thursday at College of San Mateo.
Gregory took the 1,600 in 5:13.87 and came back on the windy day to run away with the 3,200 in 11:31.31. Fong went the short route, winning the 100 in 12.62 and taking the 200 in 26.21 as the only local double-winners. Castilleja senior Rachel Skokowski took the 800 in 2:23.99 and finished second in the 1,600 (5:14.55) while Menlo got a victory from Maddy Price in the 400 (59.03) while finishing second in the team race with 55 points. Sacred Heart Prep was third with 45.