The Gunn girls successfully defended their title and the Palo Alto boys moved up two places and claimed a championship, as well, at the SCVAL El Camino Division Championships in cross country on Tuesday at Crystal Springs in Belmont.
Meanwhile, Gunn junior Gillian Meeks won her first individual title and Palo Alto senior Lucas Matison won his second straight to pace their teams.
All in all, it was a championship day all around for the Gunn and Palo Alto programs, with all four varsity teams qualifying for the Central Coast Section finals on Nov. 15 at Toro Park in Salinas.
The day was especially meaningful for all the Gunn teams, which competed despite dealing with the tragic death of a schoolmate earlier Tuesday morning.
"It was an extremely difficult and emotional day," said Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer, "but the kids were simply amazing. I am very, very proud of them and, not just because they ran fast. They ran for each other and supported each other. I really don't have any other way to desribe it."
Plumer had no idea how her athletes were going to perform after they had learned of one of their schoolmates dying early in the morning.
The Titans, however, put the tragedy behind them -- at least for the moment -- and performed well beyond Plumer's expectations for the day.
In the girls' race, Meeks cruised to victory over the rolling 2.95-mile course in 17:32.1. Senior teammate Emily Aiken was second in 18:20.1, sophomore Illi Gardner was seventh (19:27.2), junior Maya Miklos 11th (20:14.5) and freshman Emma Chiao 14th (20:27.1) as the Titans scored 35 points, six less than last year's title-winning team.
The Paly girls finished third with 72 points as junior Bryn Carlson finished sixth in 19:16.1 and sophomore Maddie Feldmeier was ninth in 19:58.1 to pace the Vikings.
In the boys' race, Matison was just a second slower than his winning time from last year while clocking 15:31.2. Sophomore Kent Slaney was seventh in 16:19.6, sophomore Naveen Pai was 11th in 16:39.0, senior Aaron Chandler (16:56.5) was 17th and junior Sam Desre (17:06.4) was 22nd to wrap up the Vikings' title with 58 points.
The Gunn boys were second with 72 points as Reid Kovacs led the way in 10th (16:37.5). Teammates Ryan Araghi (16:43.5), Jonas Enders (16:43.8) and Josh Radi (16:47.6) finished 13th, 14th and 15th, respectively, while Dylan Latham-McGraw wrapped up the scoring in 20th (17:05.8).
Menlo-Atherton successfully defended its PAL Bay Division title with a 25-11, 25-16, 25-11 victory over visiting Sequoia on Tuesday night. The Bears improved to 13-0 in league (24-3 overall) with only Thursday's match against visiting Woodside remaining.
M-A went into the Sequoia match holding a two-game lead over Burlingame, and came away with a relatively easy victory after the team's went to five sets in their first meeting. Senior Devin Joos produced 15 kills and 21 digs while hitting .310 for the Bears. Ally Ostrow finished with 16 kills and 11 digs and hit .500. Alexa Roumeliotis had 16 digs, Kaitlin Tavarez 12 and setter Kirby Knapp had 11 digs plus 47 assists. The Bears served up 10 aces and hit .400 as a team with only eight hitting errors.
In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division), Menlo School remained tied for first place with Harker following a 25-21, 25-13, 21-25, 25-17 victory over host Mercy-San Francisco. The Knights (8-1, 18-14) got 16 kills from Lida Vandermeer plus 41 assists and nine kills from fellow senior Elisa Merten. Jessica Houghton produced 20 digs with Kristin Sellers adding 15. Payton Mack and Ashley Dreyer combined for seven blocks.
Menlo can earn a share of its third straight league title by beating visiting Castilleja on Thursday at 5:45 p.m. The Knights can win the title outright if Sacred Heart Prep upsets Harker that same night. Harker (8-1) is coming off a 25-11, 25-21, 25-23 win over Castilleja (1-8, 13-20).
In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep (4-5, 17-12) posted a 25-22, 25-21, 25-27, 25-16 WBAL Foothill Division victory over visiting Notre Dame-San Jose. Victoria Garrick had 22 kills and 13 digs while fellow senior Natalie Marshall produced 42 assists. Kendall Reich had 13 kills with 17 digs and Mamie Caruso added 23 digs.
In Portola Valley, Priory wrapped up its season on Senior Night with a 25-17, 19-25, 25-11, 25-21 loss to visiting King's Academy. Seniors Anna Brett and Jane Ross led the Panthers with 10 kills and 21 digs, respectively. Ross added five aces. Senior Liz Schilling returned to the court after being sidelined seven weeks and produced nine digs and three aces. Setter Nadia Faisal contributed 23 assists and seven digs with Samantha Sargent adding eight kills.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto avenged its loss to former head coach Dave Winn by beating his Mountain View squad, 25-23, 20-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-7 on Tuesday. The Vikings improved to 3-8 (17-11 overall).
Boys water polo
Menlo School got four goals from Chris Xi while cruising to a 20-8 victory over Sequoia in the PAL playoffs at Burlingame High on Tuesday. The Knights (19-6) had 13 players score, with Eric Luxenberg scoring three times.
Menlo next will play in the semifinals on Thursday at Menlo-Atherton High against Half Moon Bay at 4:45 p.m. The host Bears (14-11) will take on Burlingame at 3:30 p.m.
Girls water polo
Castilleja got six goals from senior Anna Yu in a 14-2 victory over Sequoia in the second round of the PAL playoffs on Tuesday at Menlo School. The top-seeded Gators (16-5) also got three goals from Celia Aldrete and two from Maddie Macdonald while goalie Maddie Tarr had 10 saves.
In another second-round match, No. 2 seed Menlo-Atherton moved on to Thursday's semifinals at Woodside with a 10-1 romp over Half Moon Bay. Freshman Nadia Paquin scored six goals and sophomore Annabelle Paris added two for the Bears (11-12), which got 12 saves from goalie Francesca Gilles.
In the semifinals, Castilleja will face Woodside at 3:30 p.m., with Menlo-Atherton following against Carlmont at 4:45 p.m.