SHP upset throws WBAL girls' golf race into another tie


The West Bay Athletic League girls' golf title is still up for grabs after Sacred Heart Prep threw the race into a logjam after upsetting first-place Castilleja, 205-209, on Wednesday at Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club.

Castilleja (6-2) had taken sole possession of first place with a win over Menlo on Tuesday, but fell back into a tie for the top spot with the Knights following the loss to SHP (5-2-1).

Castilleja senior Chloe Sales earned medalist honors with a even-par 36, but SHP's Maddy Ellison (38) and Jessica Koenig (39) led the Gators, who had all five scorers under 44.

"The girls have shown great potential this season, but have been a bit streaky," said SHP coach Mark Dowdy. "We had a really tight match with Castilleja earlier in the season so the girls knew they could compete. Today, they seemed to really be focused.

"Our win today shows how competitive our league has become. If Castilleja and Menlo both win out, they'll be co-champions and it looks like Castilleja will get the automatic CCS berth because they have a lower combined score from the two Menlo-Castilleja matches. So, despite getting another L, today's loss may not hurt Castilleja's postseason prospects much."

After a tough loss on Tuesday to Castilleja, Menlo School stormed back to defeat Notre Dame-San Jose, 198-270, on Wednesday at Palo Alto Hills Golf &CC.

The Knights (6-2) moved back into a tie for first place as Jessie Rong and Sophie Siminoff shared medalist honors with scores of 1-under 35 on the par-36 front nine. Lauren Yang chipped in with 40 and Nicole Henderson 42, Elizabeth Power 46.

"Casti and us both have two more matches next week," explained Menlo coach Ron Driscoll. "We both have to beat Harker and they are good. So, we will wait and see at the end of next week."

In the Peninsula Athletic League, Menlo-Atherton wrapped up a co-title in the Bay Division with a 209-231 dual-match victory over Burlingame at Poplar Creek Golf Course in San Mateo.

The Bears (8-2) were led by sophomore Naomi Lee, who shot a 3-over 38 to earn medalist honors. Sophomore Abigail Pederson carded a 40, with senior Ashley Utz shooting a 43. Junior Margaret Sten shot 44, as did sophomore Christiana Park.

Cross country

The Gunn girls continued their strong season by scoring 25 points and claiming team honors at a Center Meet on Wednesday over the 2.95-mile layout at Crystal Springs in Belmont.

Gunn junior Gillian Meeks took individual honors with a personal best of 17:30, ranking her No. 28 on the all-time course list. With teammate Emily Aiken third in a PR of 18:25, the Titans put five runners among the top 12. Illi Gardner (19:01) was sixth, Emma Chiao (19:42) was ninth, and Maya Miklos (20:52) was 12th.

In the boys' race, Gunn scored 51 points to take second to Cupertino (45). Reid Kovacs led the Titans with a sixth-place finish of 16:57. Gunn's Ryan Araghi was seventh in 17:04 and Josh Radin finished ninth in 17:05.

"It was a great day for our team!" said Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer. "We also had the top finisher in the freshman boys race, Thomas Burton, the frosh/soph girls race, Joyce Shea, the boys soph race, Jonas Enders, and the junior varsity girls race, Kia Green."

Girls volleyball

Palo Alto and host Los Altos will team for their third annual Dig Pink Rally on Thursday night when the Vikings visit the Eagles for a SCVAL De Anza Division match at 6:45 p.m. The JV match starts at 5:30 p.m.

Over the past two years, the Los Altos and Paly volleyball teams have raised more than $4,600 during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Fans are encouraged to wear pink for the matches, which are free.

Girls water polo

Back at full strength after having three players sidelined, Sacred Heart Prep grabbed control of the West Catholic Athletic League race with an 8-5 victory on Wednesday night in Atherton.

The Gators (4-0, 13-4) blanked the Lancers in the second and third periods to spark the crucial victory, giving SHP the inside track to the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed for the WCAL playoffs. The Lancers fell to 4-1 (14-2).

Layla Waters led the way for SHP with three goals while fellow sophomore Maddy Johnston, who had missed a half-dozen games, added two, as did junior Malaika Koshy. Goalie Emily Riley came up with 12 saves in one her best outings of the season.

"Great win for us tonight, for sure," said SHP coach Jon Burke. "We had a couple of good practices this week with everyone back and we were feeling pretty good going into tonight's game because of that. Riley played phenomenal and our five-on-six defense was really outstanding."

Castilleja remained in a first-place tie in the PAL Bay Division with an 18-6 dunking of host Hillsdale. The Gators (5-0, 11-5) grabbed a 9-4 halftime lead and extended that with seven goals in the third period.

Celia Aldrete led the way with five goals with Fernanda Kramer adding four and Anna Yu three. Isabelle Arnheim scored twice for Castilleja, which goal solo goals from Maddie Macdonald, Jenna Kotcher, Alex Zafran and Heejung Chung. Goalie Maddie Tarr had 11 saves for the Gators.

Boys water polo

Sacred Heart Prep boys grabbed control of the WCAL race with a big 11-7 victory over visiting St. Francis on Wednesday night in Atherton.

Goalie JC Marco came up with 14 saves for the Gators (4-0, 13-1), who pulled away from a 3-3 halftime tie with four goals in the third and fourth periods. Nelson Perla-Ward led SHP with five goals while fellow senior Michael Swart added three.

St. Francis (4-1, 10-8) tied the match at 4 early in the third quarter and later trailed by just 7-6 before Perla-Ward and Swart finished things off.

In the PAL Bay Division, Wells Costello and Chris Xi each tossed in four goals to pace Menlo School to a 20-6 dunking of host Mills. The Knights improved to 4-0 in league (14-1 overall) as Andreas Katsis and James Thygesen each added three goals for Menlo.

In Belmont, Menlo-Atherton (4-0, 7-7) remained tied for first place following a 22-3 swamping of host Carlmont. Newcomer Michael Fedorchenko, who last season played at St. Edmund Preparatory in Brooklyn, N.Y., led the Bears with six goals. Spencer Gran and Jace Blazensky each added three goals.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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