Sports

Palo Alto earns a return trip to state cross country meet

 

Senior Kent Slaney ran a personal best, though he was unable to defend his Central Coast Section Division I individual title, finishing second to Bellarmine's Meika Beaudoin-Rosse, whom ran second to Slaney last year.

Palo Alto also finished second to the Bells, 25-51, in the team race, duplicating last year's results. Both teams advance to the state meet in Clovis in two weeks.

"It was a good race," Slaney said. "We were moving pretty hard through the second mile. I stayed with him until until the final 400 meters. Now we're all looking forward to state."

Beaudoin-Rosse (14:58.8) and Slaney (15:10.9) ran the top two times of any division on the day. Palo Alto and Bellarmine placed all give of its scoring runners among the top 16. Homestead was third with 99 points.

Sophomore Henry Saul placed 10th in 16:02.9, followed by Spencer Morganfeld in 11th (16:05.5), Naveen Pai in 12th (16:07.02), and Ben Beaudry in 16th (16:14.6). Sam Craig had to drop out at the start because of a hamstring problem.

In Division II, Gunn placed fifth, with 141 points, and senior Jonas Enders qualified to the state meet as an individual. He placed 12th overall in 16:07.2.

Sacred Heart Prep's Brett Anstrom ran eighth in the Division IV race, finishing in 16:09.0, to qualify for the state meet. The Gators were seventh (170) as a team.

Eastside College Prep was fourth in Division IV competition and junior Max Velazquez qualified for the state meet after finishing 12th in 17:10.8.

Priory junior Jack Nash also made it to state, finishing 14th with a time of 17:16.4. The Panthers were seventh with 172 points.

Division I

It was a two-team and a two-man race almost from the start as it became clear no one was going to bunch their runners together. Even then, Bellarmine, with five runners among the top eight, took the advantage from Paly, with only Slaney and two other runners keeping the Bells from a perfect score of 15.

Beaudoin-Rosse finished a full 12 seconds ahead of Slaney, who, in turn, completed the 2.95-mile course about 16 seconds ahead of Bellarmine's Alex Scales.

"Spencer and Naveen worked together, pushing each other," Slaney said. "They were passing runners and everybody stepped up and finished strong. I was proud of how we worked."

Menlo-Atherton ran 12th as a team, led by sophomore Luke Scandlyn's 31st-place finish in 16:40.9. Karl Zahlhaas-Lieb was 45th for the Bears.

Division II

St. Francis won the team title in a tie-breaker as the Lancers and Willow Glen finished with 40 points. St. Francis' sixth runner placed three spots ahead of Willow Glen's sixth runner, and that was the difference.

It was because of the dominance of those two teams that Enders had the chance to reach the state meet. He was the last individual qualifier.

Sophomore David Enders was 31st for the Titans in 17:07.4 while Colin Huang was 35th in 17:13.0.

Division IV

Menlo had four qualifiers in the boys' race. Seniors Nikhil Singhal finished in 17:50.3 and Ben Zdasiuk in 17:52.8. Sophomore Josh Eichbaum crossed the finish line in 18:19.0 and senior Aaron Lee in 18:21.3.

"They literally gave it all and peaked big time at league finals in order to make it to CCS," Menlo coach Jorge Chen said. "We can't be prouder of this group of boys and we are going to deeply miss the three seniors next year since they were amazing role models for a team of 30-plus boys."

Top runner Robert Miranda missed the cross country season due to injury but should be ready to go for track and field.

SHP's Max Cluss placed 20th in 16:42.8, Graham MacFarquhar was 32nd in 16:59.2, Will Jewitt placed 54th in 17:40.9, and Matthew Chun finished 18:03.9.

Division V

Nash was also the final individual qualifier.

"I've been training since June and put in a lot of hard work," Nash said. "It feels amazing to have it all pay off."

And though his team is not going to the state meet, Nash said being part of a team made a big difference.

"It's one of the best things that can happen," he said. "You train together and it brightens my day every time I can come to practice. It's my team, but they are also my friends."

Nash played soccer and basketball in middle school and found himself running around a lot without many results.

"The running was the fun part, so I decided to stick with that," he said.

Priory senior Jack Youstra placed 27th in the race in 18:00.0.

Eastside Prep ran a solid, strategic race, bunching runners together and getting all seven runners in among the top 34 for scoring purposes, something only third-place Nueva bettered.

Alexis Nunez came in two spots behind Nash in 17:27.3. Carlos Nunez and Jose Munoz ran 25th and 26th, respectively, and Christopher Mansilla, Joshua Mendez and Erick Hernandez finished together.

Pinewood's Michael Bodine, running as an individual, was 31st in 18:09.2.

The state meet will be held on Nov. 26 at Woodward Park and kicks off with the boys Division IV race at 8:30 a.m., followed by Division V boys at 9 a.m,

The DI race is 10:40 a.m. and the DII race is 12:50 p.m.

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