Sports

Titans girls, boys water polo splash past the Vikings

Menlo's Robert Miranda sets a league record in winning the WBAL cross country race

Gunn's Young Lee prepares to shot as Paly's Jack Anderson closes in. Photo by Karen Ambrose Hickey.

The Gunn girls water polo team played at Palo Alto High for the first time in three years and the Vikings did everything they could to make the Titans feel uncomfortable in the pool.

Palo Alto played tenacious defense, was patient on offense and found themselves in a tied game in the fourth quarter.

If Gunn goalie Zoe Banks, who recorded 11 saves, didn't have such an expansive wing span, this Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division contest may have turned out differently.

Gunn survived the trip, beating the Vikings 8-6 Thursday to remain within striking distance of league-leader Los Gatos with three league games remaining.

With construction surrounding the Paly pool the past two years, the Vikings used Gunn for the duration.

The Titans (10-6, 8-1) host third-place Mountain View on Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. while Palo Alto (7-12, 1-7) travels to Saratoga at the same time.

The Vikings were coming off a drubbing by the first-place Wildcats (14-2, 9-0) last week but they apparently left that team in Los Gatos because they looked like a team on a mission Thursday afternoon.

Gunn never led by more than two goals and was constantly hounded while on offense, with Talia Stanley and Chesnie Cheung, among others, active in front of the net.

Sabrina Hall, Sophie Frick and Jules Steil each scored twice for the Vikings.

Gunn was led by Cooper McKenna with three goals, and two goals each by Kara Jacobsen and Michelle Fang. Buffy Miksztal also scored.

Having Banks in the net gives the Titans plenty of flexibility.

"She allows us to do a lot things on defense," Gunn coach Mark Hernandez said. "She can cover mistakes."

The Gunn boys also won, beating Palo Alto 8-4 and remaining two games back of undefeated Los Altos with four league matches remaining. Gunn and the Eagles meet in Los Altos next Thursday at 6:45 p.m.

Inbetween, the Titans (10-9, 8-2) visit Menlo-Atherton in a nonleague game Friday at 7 p.m. Paly plays M-A at noon Saturday.

Cross country

The Menlo girls won the West Bay Athletic League opening meet at Crystal Springs-Hallmark Park behind a pair of top 10 efforts from Kyra Pretre (second in 18:36.9) and Charlotte Tomkinson (seventh in 20:17.7) and the boys finished fifth, though senior Robert Miranda ran a spectacular race in earning the individual title with a league record and personal best time 15:21.1 over the 2.95-mile course.

Since coming back from a season lost to injury, Miranda has won every race he has entered for Menlo: Lowell Invitational, Tiger Invitational 5K and the first WBAL meet.

Sacred Heart Prep's Max Cluss ran fifth in 17:02.1 and Menlo's Kamran Murray was sixth in 17:02.5.

Eastside College Prep was third overall, with Max Velazquez (17:13.4), Alexis Nunez (17:16.9) and Carlos Nunez (17:23.34) finishing 8-9-11.

Jack Nash was Priory's top runner, placing 19th in 17:55.8. SH Prep was fourth and Priory finished sixth.

In the girls' competition, the Knights had 59 points, topping Castilleja by seven, among 11 teams. Sacred Heart Prep was third with 93. Pretre surpassed her previous-best of 20:12 in the league finals last season. Tomkinson beat her previous-best of 20.59.5.

Sophomore Katie Aufricht took 13th in 21:26.4, freshman Marisa Castagna was 17th in 21:48.7 and sophomore Cameron Boom placed 20th in 22:16.3.

Menlo ran third in last year's CCS championship meet to earn the program's first state berth but the Knights had another motivation in mind: last year's one-point loss to Castilleja in last year's league championships.

"It was really good for morale, and to know that we have such a strong team this year with the freshmen and all," Pretre said. "Everyone seems to be doing well."

TKA's Anna Mokkapati won the girls' race in 18:21 while Sacred Heart Prep freshman Luci Lambert was third in 19:26. Lambert, Mokkapati and Pretre were teammates on a local club team.

"Before (the race), we talked about working together," Pretre said of Mokkapati. "When she took off, I tried to stay with her in sight, and I think I closed in on her at the end."

Castilleja was led by Tevah Gevelber's fourth-place finish in 19:31.3, Lauren Traum's eighth-place finish in 20:26.5 and Angie Wang's 10th-place in 20:54.0.

Lambert and Gator senior Brooke Whitcomb (ninth in 20:42.8) paced SHP's third-place finish.

Sophomore Ava Rust, returning to form since recovering from a soccer injury, raced 11th in 21:05.8 to help Priory finish fifth. Eastside College Prep was ninth.

Girls' tennis

Menlo, Sacred Heart Prep and Castilleja all won West Bay Athletic League matches on Thursday.

Castilleja beat Pinewood, 6-1, as Soline Boussard and Simran Sandhu led a doubles at No. 1. Tobey Solomon, Mabelle Pasmooij and Roxana Scott each won their singles matches in straight sets.

Julia Owens beat Becca Row in a tiebreaker at the top of the ladder to give the Panthers their only win.

Sacred Heart Prep blanked the host Gryphons even without its top two singles players. Isa Robinson, Emily McGrath, Noorayn Jafri and Ella Sheehan took care of business on the singles front.

Menlo beat Harker, 6-1.

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