Sports

Prep report: Palo Alto boys set a virtual school swimming record

The 400 free relay was less than a second off the school mark

Palo Alto's 200 free relay team of Ethan Harrington, James Fetter, Eric Gabbassof and Harrison Williams combined to set a school record in the event. Video courtesy of Palo Alto High swimming.

With no Central Coast Section championship meet this season, Palo Alto swimmers Ethan Harrington, James Fetter, Eric Gabbassof, and Harrison Williams were left to compete for themselves and teammates.

There were no big crowds in a big stadium cheering for them, just each other and perhaps a handful of spectators.

Palo Alto High swimming coach Danny Dye knew he had something special this year and his boys' 200 free relay team gave him a school record. Photo by Rick Eymer.

Together, they swam a 200 free relay for the books, setting a record with a time of 1:23.31. That's a time you might expect at a big championship meet like the CCS, where the Vikings stood a good chance at a title this season.

The strange course of events over the past year or so prevented the foursome from performing their magic before a large gathering.

It doesn't matter. They did it for each other and for their school. They also earned All-American status.

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Fortunately the race had to be documented because it was a part of a Santa Clara Valley Athletic League dual meet. And it was Senior Day.

Bellarmine holds the CCS meet record of 1:22.30, set in 2018. The Bells also held the previous mark, just under Paly's best. It's an example of when these times are clocked: at CCS and not in a virtual dual meet.

The splits are remarkable: Harrington led off with a 20.87. He was followed by Fetter in 21.03 Gabbassof in 20.73, and Williams in 20.65. The same four swimmers nearly set a second record, missing the 400 free relay mark by 0.48 seconds. In order, their splits: Gabbassof 45.61, Harrington 46.13, Fetter 47.39, Williams 45.47.

Water polo

Rusha Bhat scored five goals in helping Menlo School beat host Mitty in a West Catholic Athletic League girls match Saturday.

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The Knights scored the first two goals of the contest and never trailed, though the Monarchs stayed close throughout.

Rusha Bhat scored five goals in Menlo's 10-7 victory over Mitty on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Pam McKenney/Menlo Athletics.

The Sacred Heart Prep girls lost its first match of the season, falling at St. Francis, 8-3, on Saturday morning.

The game was tied, 3-3, at halftime and then the Gators (5-1) were blanked in the second half. Ashley Penner scored all three goals for SHP. Megan Norris recorded 13 saves in goal.

The Gators made three of 23 shots (.130), were 2-of-9 on power plays and missed a penalty shot.

The game was played about 13 hours after Sacred Heart Prep edged visiting Leland, 12-11, Friday night. Penner scored a goal with 50 seconds remaining to play to lift the Gators past the perennial CCS title contenders.

Penner finished with five goals. Alexandra Szczerba and Ella Woodhead each added three. Norris had 10 saves.

In boys action, Menlo senior Connor MacMitchell scored seven goals and drew four exclusions but the Knights lost to visiting Valley Christian, 12-11, in a WCAL contest.

It's the first time in Bowen's 22 years at Menlo that he's lost to the Warriors.

Valley Christian took an 8-4 lead by the middle of the third quarter before Menlo responded with a 6-2 run.

"That might have been my favorite part of the season," Menlo coach Jack Bowen said. "Valley Christian was playing exceptionally well and we found a way to really trust in ourselves and our teammates and, as a team, to come back to within a goal. It showed such great character in our guys. I'm really proud of them for that."

Sophomore Jackson Kay led Menlo with two assists and sophomore Tommy Kiesling led the team with three steals. Junior Greg Hilderbrand recorded three blocked shots on defense.

Next week Menlo takes on St. Ignatius for the second time in league play. The Knights won in their first meeting.

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Prep report: Palo Alto boys set a virtual school swimming record

The 400 free relay was less than a second off the school mark

Uploaded: Sun, Mar 28, 2021, 2:04 am

With no Central Coast Section championship meet this season, Palo Alto swimmers Ethan Harrington, James Fetter, Eric Gabbassof, and Harrison Williams were left to compete for themselves and teammates.

There were no big crowds in a big stadium cheering for them, just each other and perhaps a handful of spectators.

Together, they swam a 200 free relay for the books, setting a record with a time of 1:23.31. That's a time you might expect at a big championship meet like the CCS, where the Vikings stood a good chance at a title this season.

The strange course of events over the past year or so prevented the foursome from performing their magic before a large gathering.

It doesn't matter. They did it for each other and for their school. They also earned All-American status.

Fortunately the race had to be documented because it was a part of a Santa Clara Valley Athletic League dual meet. And it was Senior Day.

Bellarmine holds the CCS meet record of 1:22.30, set in 2018. The Bells also held the previous mark, just under Paly's best. It's an example of when these times are clocked: at CCS and not in a virtual dual meet.

The splits are remarkable: Harrington led off with a 20.87. He was followed by Fetter in 21.03 Gabbassof in 20.73, and Williams in 20.65. The same four swimmers nearly set a second record, missing the 400 free relay mark by 0.48 seconds. In order, their splits: Gabbassof 45.61, Harrington 46.13, Fetter 47.39, Williams 45.47.

Water polo

Rusha Bhat scored five goals in helping Menlo School beat host Mitty in a West Catholic Athletic League girls match Saturday.

The Knights scored the first two goals of the contest and never trailed, though the Monarchs stayed close throughout.

The Sacred Heart Prep girls lost its first match of the season, falling at St. Francis, 8-3, on Saturday morning.

The game was tied, 3-3, at halftime and then the Gators (5-1) were blanked in the second half. Ashley Penner scored all three goals for SHP. Megan Norris recorded 13 saves in goal.

The Gators made three of 23 shots (.130), were 2-of-9 on power plays and missed a penalty shot.

The game was played about 13 hours after Sacred Heart Prep edged visiting Leland, 12-11, Friday night. Penner scored a goal with 50 seconds remaining to play to lift the Gators past the perennial CCS title contenders.

Penner finished with five goals. Alexandra Szczerba and Ella Woodhead each added three. Norris had 10 saves.

In boys action, Menlo senior Connor MacMitchell scored seven goals and drew four exclusions but the Knights lost to visiting Valley Christian, 12-11, in a WCAL contest.

It's the first time in Bowen's 22 years at Menlo that he's lost to the Warriors.

Valley Christian took an 8-4 lead by the middle of the third quarter before Menlo responded with a 6-2 run.

"That might have been my favorite part of the season," Menlo coach Jack Bowen said. "Valley Christian was playing exceptionally well and we found a way to really trust in ourselves and our teammates and, as a team, to come back to within a goal. It showed such great character in our guys. I'm really proud of them for that."

Sophomore Jackson Kay led Menlo with two assists and sophomore Tommy Kiesling led the team with three steals. Junior Greg Hilderbrand recorded three blocked shots on defense.

Next week Menlo takes on St. Ignatius for the second time in league play. The Knights won in their first meeting.

Rick Eymer

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