Palo Alto senior Michelle Xie successfully defended her individual title at the Central Coast Section Girls Golf Championships on Tuesday at Rancho Canada (East Course) in Carmel Valley.
Xie earned medalist honors with a sizzling 5-under-par 67, two shots lower than what she shot last year while helping her team win the title. This time, the Vikings finished third with a 410 total, one stroke behind runner-up Gunn. St. Francis took the team crown with a 385 score.
All three teams advance to the 15th annual NCGA/CIF Girls Golf Championship, set for Monday at The Club at Crazy Horse Ranch in Salinas.
Gunn and Palo Alto both advanced to NorCals last season, as well.
Xie made the most of her final opportunity in the section finals by holding off Katherine Zhu of Harker (69).
Xie, who started on the 10th hole, was 5-under on the back nine before shooting even-par on the front. On the par-5 18th hole, Xie stuck her approach shot 2-3 feet from the hole and made the putt for an eagle.
"It was going to be tough to beat St Francis, they are just to loaded with good players this year," said Paly coach Doyle Knight. "I was excited for the girls making it to NorCals again. They have worked really hard this year."
Gunn senior Anna Zhou, who won the SCVAL Tournament last week, was six shots back of Xie and tied for sixth with a 1-over 73. The Titans also got a 79 from freshman Lydia Tsai, an 80 from Lianna McFarlane-Connelly an 87 from Tiffany Yang, and 90 from Margaret Redfield for a 409 total.
"Tough, windy conditions at Rancho Canada today," said Gunn coach Chris Redfield. "I am very happy with the way the Gunn girls played. Great poise."
Palo Alto kept its season alive with a 76 from Emily Hwang, an 82 from freshman Stephanie Yu, an 89 from Elise Kiya and a 96 from Celia Willner.
"Pretty cool to see both Gunn and Palo Alto advancing again to NorCals," Redfield added. "One of the secrets behind all this success is the great junior program at Palo Alto Golf Course. On any given day you'll find a bunch of kids over there taking lessons and practicing."
Castilleja just missed a NorCal berth by taking fourth with 421 strokes. Menlo School was fifth with 425 and Menlo-Atherton seventh with 438.
Menlo freshman Sophie Siminoff was among the leaders with a 72, but missed out by one stroke of advancing to NorCals as an individual. Castilleja senior Chloe Sales shot 75 while Jessica Koenig of Sacred Heart Prep and Jessie Rong of Menlo carded 77s. Abbey Pederson led Menlo-Atherton with a 79.