For those who were wondering if a 14-0 regular-season record and a fourth straight SCVAL Tournament title by the Palo Alto boys golf team was a fluke, that was answered by the Vikings on Tuesday.
"Coaches were talking," said Paly coach Doyle Knight. "They knew we were good, just didn't know how good."
The Vikings showed why they went undefeated this season by registering a team-best 367 strokes to capture the Central Coast Section Regional I title at Rancho Canada (West) Golf Course in Carmel Valley.
Mitty (374), St. Francis (376) and Menlo School (379) rounded out the top four team spots and will join Palo Alto in the CCS Championships next Tuesday on the same course.
"The guys played great," said Knight. "I was very proud and happy for them. It was good to see them play up to their potential as a team."
Palo Alto came into this tournament last year off a similar undefeated league season and league tourney crown. But, the Vikings failed to advance as a team and left some big goals on the table for this season.
"It was a great feeling when the guys started coming in and, at first, we realized we had made it into the top four for next week," said Knight. "And, then realize we had the low score for the day. It really solidified the guys; it was good to see."
Henry Hughes was the only Paly player to advance to the CCS finals last year. On Tuesday, he helped take the rest of the team to the next level. Hughes and fellow senior Henry Gordon led the way with even-par 71s. Ahmed Ali shot a 2-over 73 and fellow sophomores Sergi Mata and Joonsung Ha carded 76s. Senior Matt Lewis shot 82, but his score wasn't needed.
"They still left some easy putts on the course," said Knight, "but they handled the pressure and now we move on."
Menlo School advanced after finishing second during the West Bay Athletic League regular season. The Knights, however, won the league tournament to qualify for CCS and showed that result was no fluke.
Max Ting, who won individual honors at the WBAL tourney, fired a 2-over 73 to lead the Knights again. Seth Pope followed with a 74 while Charlie Hsieh and Jeff Herr each shot 77. William Hsieh rounded out the scoring with a 78.
Sacred Heart Prep, which earned an at-large berth into the regional finished 10th with 417 strokes. Griffin Gelbach, however, shot 75 and won a playoff for the final individual berth for the CCS finals.
The CCS Regional II is being played Wednesday, with PAL Bay Division champ Menlo-Atherton competing.