Gunn cross-country teams are off and running with successful early efforts | September 30, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - September 30, 2011

Gunn cross-country teams are off and running with successful early efforts

The Gunn boys' and girls' cross-country teams are off and running toward successful seasons once again.

Gunn sophomore Sarah Robinson won her second race in four days by racing to victory at the Central Park Invitational on Tuesday. Robinson, who won the girls' varsity race at the Frogtown Invitational in Angels Camp on Saturday, clocked a 13:40.6 time over the 2.3-mile course in Santa Clara.

Robinson's effort helped the Titans finish third with 94 points. Lybrook won with 72 with Monta Vista second with 81. Palo Alto was 12th with 275.

In the boys' race, Gunn senior Andrew Prior finished second in 11:43.1 to help the Titans finish fourth in the team race with 112 points. Cupertino captured the title with 56 points. Palo Alto was 11th with 353.

"The kids ran pretty solidly," said Ernie Lee, who is assisting head coach Matt Tompkins. "We were shooting for a low-key effort. In fact, everyone was told to go out conservatively for at least the first mile, especially those who raced Saturday.

"If definitely showed as some kids who went on the trip (Saturday) were a little flat while almost everyone else moved up significantly throughout the race. A good sign was that a lot of kids finished strong and felt great."

On the weekend, Gunn packed up its cross-country teams and headed for the hills, Angels Camp to be exact, to compete in the Bret Harte Frogtown Invitational in El Dorado County. The lengthy trip proved to be well worth it for the Titans.

The varsity boys won their division title and sophomore Sarah Robinson captured individual honors in the girls' varsity race over a hilly 3.0-mile course in 90-degree heat.

The Gunn boys scored a six-point victory (86-92) over runner-up McClatchy thanks to a second-place finish by Prior in 16:46. Seniors Peter Chen (17:45) and Michael Underwood (17:51) also were among the top 20 in 13th and 15th, respectively. Shaun Yee (18;1) and Rishi Agarwal (18:47) raced home among the top 35 to factor into the scoring.

In the girls' varsity race, Robinson averaged 6:28 per mile while clocking 19:24 to win comfortably by more than a minute. Christine Prior, in her first season of running cross country, was a solid ninth in 21:35.

Drew Bent of Gunn was second in the shorter sophomore race in 12:19 and Gunn's Elle Ribbe was second in the girls' sophomore race in 14:59. In the freshman races, Gunn's David Heidenreich-Lee was seventh in 12:54 and Catherine Kim was 13th in 16:24.

While Gunn was running in the hills, a host of other local runners were testing the rolling terrain at the Stanford Golf Course in the annual Stanford Invitational on Saturday.

Priory senior Kat Gregory had the best finish of any local runner, boy or girl, by taking second in the girls' Division V race. Gregory clocked 18:29 over the 5,000-meter course (3.1 miles) while finishing 29th overall in all the girls' races combined. Carrie Verdon of Campolindo had the fastest overall time of 16:58.8.

In other girls' highlights, Palo Alto finished 12th out of 29 Division I teams as freshman Katie Foug led the way in 24th in 19:29 and Chika Kasahara was 42nd in 20:01. In the girls' Division V race, Castilleja junior Fiona McCarthy-McCrystle was 24th in 20:35 and freshman Nicole Colonna of Pinewood was 34th in 21:14. In the girls' Division IV race, Menlo sophomore Maddy Price was 39th in 20:14.

Menlo-Atherton senior Michael Hester helped the Bears finish 10th out of 22 teams in the Boys' Seeded Division by finishing 19th in the elite race. Hester clocked 15:57 over the 5,000-meter (3.1 miles) course with senior teammate Jack Beckwith next in 43rd in 16:25.

In other boys' highlights, Palo Alto's Nikolai Solgaard was 28th in the Division II race in 16:24; Daniel Pugliese of Menlo School was 32nd in 16:53 and Zach Kaplan of Sacred Heart Prep was 44th (17:12) in the Division IV race; and Joe Farned of Priory was 57th in 18:15 in the Division V race.


Fresh from a big 45-14 romp over host Gunn in nonleague action last weekend, Palo Alto (2-1) will open defense of its SCVAL De Anza Division title by hosting Homestead on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

Gunn (0-3), meanwhile, will open its SCVAL El Camino Division season at home against Harker at 7:30 p.m.

Menlo School (3-0) will open its PAL Ocean Division season on Friday by visiting Mills at 3:15 p.m.

Menlo-Atherton (2-2), Sacred Heart Prep (4-0) and Priory (1-3) all have byes this week.

Priory won its first game of the season as running back James McDaniel rushed for a career-high 292 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 40-36 triumph over visiting Alma Heights Christian on Saturday in eight-man action. His touchdown runs were 60, 33, four and three yards. He also added a two-point conversion.

Priory had just eight players available in the second half, which forced McDaniel to take charge on offense.

Pinewood (0-2), which had to cancel last Saturday's eight-man game with King's Christian (Lemoore) due to having too many injuries and not being able to field a team, is scheduled to host Trinity Christian on Saturday at 11 a.m.


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