Menlo girls earn WBAL golf tournament title at Poplar Creek


The final foursome finished their round just after darkness consumed Poplar Creek Golf Course on Wednesday night and the West Bay Athletic League girls golf championship rested on the scorecards they were delivering.

Menlo School coach Jim Miller was fairly confident the Knights won the league's automatic bid into Tuesday's Central Coast Section championships in Carmel.

Sophie Siminoff
All five of his scoring golfers were already at the scorer's table before any other team could calculate their scores.

"There were some good scores by a lot of girls," Miller said. "A lot of them had at least three birdies."

It was a fine day for golf, a slight breeze the only indication of conditions and Harker's Katherine Zhu responded with a 2-under 69 to take medalist honors for the third straight year.

Menlo's Sophie Siminoff and Castilleja's Divya Tadimenti, with five consecutive birdies on the back nine, shared second place, each with a round of 72.

Nearly six hours after the first golfer teed off, the results were in. Miller's confidence was supported. The Knights finished with 395 strokes, three ahead of Harker's 398 and five ahead of Castilleja's 400. Sacred Heart Prep was fourth with 412.

The WBAL received two at-large bids last year and it's likely Harker and Castilleja will find themselves in Carmel next week. The CCS office was expected to have the final contestants ready Thursday morning.

There are also 11 available spots for individuals. Should Harker and Castilleja make the team tournament, Sacred Heart Prep's Caroline Park (76) and Cami Steppe (78) should be ready to polish the clubs for action.

Siminoff was seventh as an individual last year, advancing to the NorCal regional. The Knights finished fourth, behind St. Francis, Lynbrook and St. Ignatius.

Menlo placed three among the top 12, with Gianna Inguagiato tied for eighth with Steppe and Pinewood's Megan Chou at 78. Sulwen Ma shot a 79 to finish 11th. Vikki Xu (81) and Lauren Yang (85) completed the Knights' scoring. Menlo's Kendall Weingart had to withdrew after nine holes with a bad back.

Siminoff and Yang are the only Menlo golfers who went to the CCS last year. Five of the six Castilleja golfers return from last year.

"We only had six players and were competitive," Miller said. "The team graduated six and five the last two years. We'll have to grow the sport through the middle school."

Miller, while working at the Stanford Golf Course, started the Castilleja golf program, with then Athletic Director Jez McIntosh, in 1999. He left after the 2010 season.

Castilleja had three golfers among the top nine, with Niav Layton (75) and Alyssa Sales (76) joining Tadimeti. Other Gator golfers were Risa Yang (85), Anika Tse (92) and Sophia Khu (104).

Park and Steppe were joined by Lauren Von Thaden (83), Sinead Haley (84), Danielle Sarkisian (91) and Maia Gronoski (106).

Lynbrook won the SCVAL tournament Tuesday to grab the automatic berth. Palo Alto made a good case for an at-large bid, finishing four strokes behind their fellow Vikings, 403-407. Gunn placed fourth with a score of 423 and like Sacred Heart Prep, has an outside chance of making it.

Gunn's Lydia Tsai and Palo Alto's Stephani Yu and Katherine Sung each tied for fourth on the leaderboard, with rounds of 77. Lynbrook's Jessica Luo earned medalist honors with an even-par 72.

Paly's Priya Bakshi placed seventh with a 79. Elise Kiya (84) also scored for the Vikings. Emily Hwang shot an 89.

Tsai, 12th at last year's CCS tournament, was joined by Margaret Redfield (85), Lucy Lamb (86), Sabrina Chen (87), Isha Mohan (89) and Isabella Yu (89).

Menlo-Atherton's Andrea Lee earned medalist honors, shooting a 77 Tuesday at Poplar Creek to qualify for a return trip to the CCS, where she finished in a tie for 16th in 2015. Aragon earned the team title.

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