SHP freshman making big strides in cross country

Sacred Heart Prep’s Luci Lambert finished in second place in the unseeded girls race at the Capital Cross Challenge in Sacramento. Photo courtesy of Ken Wilner/SHP Athletics.

Sacred Heart Prep’s Luci Lambert finished second in the unseeded girls race at the Capital Cross Challenge last Saturday in Sacramento. Her time was 18:45.1 over a 5K course.

A terrific performance for any runner. Even more impressive in Lambert’s case, considering she is a freshman.

Paly's Grace Rowell
SHP coach Ken Wilner knows he has had a talented runner entrusted to his care.

“My main goal as a coach is to keep her healthy and not overdo it,’’ Wilner said.

The training schedule has Lambert running just four times a week. Wilner has her doing yoga one day a week and working out on a stationary bike on a sixth day.

He certainly doesn’t have to do a hard-sell job in getting Lambert to work hard.

“She’s passionate about running,’’ Wilner said. “That’s something you can’t coach.’’

Both of Lambert’s parents were track and field athletes at Cal, her mother a distance runner and her father a thrower.

Wilner first became aware of Lambert when she was running for the Woodside Wildebeests club team along with Kyra Pretre, the top runner at Menlo School.

Lambert was a standout runner in middle school, placing second at the Santa Clara County Middle School championships.

She was clocked in 19:24 on the 3-mile course at Newhall Park at the De La Salle Invitational in her first high school race Sept. 16, for a mile pace of 6:28.

She lowered her mile pace time to 6:03 on the 5K course at the Haggin Park Golf Course in Sacramento. So she’s making nice progress.

Lambert will compete in her first West Bay Athletic League meet of the season, Thursday at Crystal Springs.

She'll be joined by runners from Castilleja, Eastside College Prep, Menlo, Pinewood and Priory among others. Races begin at 3 p.m.

Prep water polo

The Palo Alto boys ended Gunn's long regular-season winning streak in their last meeting.

Since then, the teams have gone in different directions. The Vikings (5-10, 4-5) have lost four straight and are 3-6 since beating the Titans in sudden death overtime on Sept. 14. Paly is 2-3 in one-goal games to date, including an excruciating 10-9 loss to host Los Gatos on Tuesday.

The teams meet again Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at Palo Alto. The girls teams renew their rivalry at 3:30 p.m.

Gunn (9-8, 7-2) sustained a four-game losing streak that began with the loss to Paly.

The Titans have since regained ground in the SCVAL and are in sole possession of second place behind undefeated Los Altos (13-2, 9-0). The Eagles struggled to squeeze past Gunn, 10-9, in their first meeting.

Gunn, on a two-game winning streak, hopes to keep that momentum going with six games remaining in the regular season. The Titans play at Los Altos a week from Thursday, which will be a major factor in the postseason seeding meeting.

The Titans girls (9-6, 7-1) are one game behind league-leading Los Gatos in the SCVAL De Anza Division and one game ahead of third-place Mountain View.

Gunn beat host Homestead, 8-1, on Tuesday behind the play of goalie Zoe Banks. Palo Alto (7-11, 1-6) lost to Los Gatos, 15-3.


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