After just missing the top spot last season, Palo Alto senior Reed Merritt won his first diving title at the Central Coast Section Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara.
Diving before the swimmers took the pool for preliminaries, Merritt put up 593.65 points for his 11 dives on the 1-meter board to earn 20 points and give the Vikings an early lead heading into Saturday's swim finals at 2:30 p.m.
Merritt defeated defending champion Nick Mamola of Santa Teresa (562.75), but did not break his school mark of 594.90 from the SCVAL De Anza Division Championships.
Palo Alto also got a 10th-place finish from freshman Jack Callaghan (377.85) for seven points. Gunn senior Jason Steinberg was 14th with 339.85 points, giving the Titans three points toward their quest for a possible CCS team title.
Gunn had a record-breaking day as Michael Lincoln broke his own school record in the 200 free with a 1:38.93 clocking for the No. 3 time, Daichi Matsuda did the same in the 200 IM with a time of 1:50.98 for fourth and in the 100 fly (49.14) while Joao Ama lowered his school record in the 50 free to 20.81 and his school record in the 100 free to 45.19. The Titans also broke their school mark in the 200 free relay (1:25.31) and in the 400 free relay (3:06.24). Max Pokotta lowered his record in the 100 breast to 56.75
Menlo-Atherton also had a record-breaking one with six school marks falling.
Senior Vincent Busque set school marks in the 200 free of 1:39.6 8 (the old was 1:41.12 by Nick Henze in 2011) and 500 free of 4:31.68 (old mark was 4:35.08 by John Scott in 1987).
Busque also anchored the 200 free relay to a school mark of 1:28.92 (old record was 1:29.06 in 2012).
For the M-A girls, sophomore Izzi Henig was the top qualifier in the 50 free and 100 free with a school record of 22.86 in the 50 (old mark was 23.23 by Brooke Stenstrom in 2013). Heinz also anchored the 200 free relay to a school mark of 1:37.32 (old mark was 1:38.32 in 2015). The team included Kate Denend, Sophie Murff and Maddie Worden. Henig also anchored the 400 free relay to a school mark off 3:30.70 (old was 3:31.54 in 2013). The squad included Haley Arrington, Murff and Denend.
The Sacred Heart Prep girls lowered the school record in the 200 free to 1:36.89 with the team of Matte Snow, Gaby Ma, Kathryn Bower and Kayla Holman.
Palo Alto and Sacred Heart Prep grabbed momentum heading into the CCS playoffs next week by winning league playoff titles on Friday.
In Half Moon Bay, Sacred Heart Prep (14-15) won its third game of the week with a 6-1 triumph over Capuchino to claim the Peninsula Athletic League playoff crown.
Sean Clark got the start on the mound for SHP, despite not having a lot of outings this season. He gave up four hits over the first two innings, but then settled down and shut down the Mustangs the remainder of the game. He needed just 78 pitches during his complete-game victory while holding Capuchino to just five hits.
Clark got plenty of support as the Gators banged out 10 hits, three by senior Andrew Daschbach. It was his second straight three-hit game. He led off the bottom of the first with a double, the first of his two doubles. He also scored two runs, drove in one and added an intentional walk that loaded the bases in the second inning.
Schafer Kraemer finished with two hits and an RBI. Clark helped himself with a pair of RBI, driving in Daschbach in the first with a sacrifice fly for an early lead. Capuchino tied the game in the top of the second, but SHP bounced back in the bottom of the inning as Mike York singled to right and Nick O'Donnell got on base with a fielder's choice. Following a groundout and a walk to Daschbach to load the bases, Kraemer and Clark drew back-to-back walks to plate two more runs.
SHP scored three more in the fourth. Jack Molumphy led off the inning with an infield hit and scored when Daschbach followed with his second double. Kraemer followed with a bloop single that moved Daschbach to third. Daschbach later scored on a wild pitch. Kraemer wound up scoring on a groundout by Brendan Semien.
In Los Gatos, Palo Alto (23-5-1) rallied for a 3-2 victory over host Los Gatos to win the best-of-three series in the SCVAL De Anza Division playoffs and earn a share of the overall league crown with the regular-season champion Wildcats.
Max Jung-Goldberg ended the no-hit bid and shutout with an RBI double that scored Justin Hull, who had walked. Fellow senior Alec Olmstead followed with a single, moving Hull to third. Lawrence Han then produced an RBI single to tie the game.
With runners at second and third with no outs, pinch-hitter Mike Champagne bunted. Los Gatos tried to make a play at third on Olmstead, but the ball got away and Olmstead scored the winning run.
Los Gatos made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff double, but sophomore Niko Lillios relieved Ryan Chang and set the Wildcats down in order to secure the victory that clinched a berth in next week's CCS Open Division playoffs.
Sacred Heart Prep capped a perfect season in the PAL Bay Division by defeating rival Menlo School, 14-9, in the championship match of the league playoffs on Friday at Burlingame High.
For the Gators (19-4), it was their third straight league playoff title and the first coming on the heels of an undefeated (10-0) regular league season.
Frank Bell led the way with three goals and two assists. The Gators got two goals from Harrison Toig, Tommy Barnds, Kevin Tinsley and Thomas Wine while David Peterson, Jack Crockett and Trevor Peay all scored once. Goalie Cody Weibe came up with 10 saves against Menlo (11-10), which fell to SHP for a third time this season.
Menlo-Atherton and Castilleja advanced to the West Bay Athletic League semifinals following big wins on Friday.
The Bears (12-8) rolled to a 20-2 win over visiting Sequoia as Sally Carlson, Emma Easton and Grace Tully all scored three goals. Lindsey Martin got her first goal for M-A, which visits Menlo School in a semifinal on Saturday at 11 a.m.
At El Camino Park, Castilleja (10-8) eliminated Burlingame with a 14-7 triumph, highlighted by five goals in five minutes of the second half.
Freshman Taylor DeGroff scored four first-half goals and senior Celeste Woloshyn added a goal and a pair of assists to propel the Gators to a narrow 6-5 halftime lead.
Woloshyn opened the scoring in the second half with a goal and an assist on another DeGroff goal, and Emma Glickman, Lauren Traum, and Ellie Chen all found the net in rapid succession for a 11-5 lead that Castilleja did not relinquish as the defense held the Panthers scoreless for over 20 minutes spanning both halves.
DeGroff finished with five goals while Woloshyn had career highs with a hat trick and four assists. Traum added a hat trick and two assists and Glickman tallied two goals for the Gators, who visit regular-season champ Sacred Heart Prep on Saturday at noon on the back field near the pool.