Sacred Heart Prep finishes fifth in North-South Challenge

While the Sacred Prep boys' water polo team didn't reach the finals, the Gators still came up with their best finish since 2008 at the seventh annual North vs. South Challenge that wrapped up Saturday in Atherton.

After splitting a pair of matches on Friday that prevented SHP from reaching the finals or third-place match, the Gators grabbed the highest finish possible (fifth) by defeating El Toro, 9-6, and then Agoura, 11-7, on Saturday at SHP.

Zach Churukian scored three goals and Bret Hinrichs had two in the win over El Toro, the No. 5-ranked Division I team in the CIF Southern Section. Senior goalie Will Runkel had 17 saves and helped blanked the visitors in the fourth quarter.

In the fifth-place game, Harrison Enright stepped up with three goals and Churukian added another three to topple Agoura, the No. 1-ranked Division I team in the Southern Section. Runkel came through with 18 saves.

"I was very happy with the way we responded after yesterday's tough loss," SHP coach Brian Kreutzkamp said, alluding to Friday's 13-12 second-round loss to eventual fourth-place finisher Santa Barbara. "They played the best we've played all season today."

Sacred Heart Prep's finish was the best among the eight NorCal teams. Miramonte finished eighth, Menlo School took 11th following a big 11-10 win over St. Francis, Menlo-Atherton was 14th and Los Altos was 15th.

Menlo avenged an 11-10 loss to St. Francis from earlier in the season coming out strong, leading at one point 7-3. The Knights got goals from seven different players while playing a strong movement-style defense -- led by senior captain Alexander Carlisle with four steals (and also four assists).

Menlo was able to hold on, stopping St. Francis on a last-second power-play opportunity with a big save from goalie John Wilson, who finished with 10 saves. Chris Xi scored three goals and Carlisle added two against the Lancers.

"Finishing 2-2 in a tournament like this, with one-goal wins over Davis (9-8 on Friday) and St. Francis, is a great result for us," said Menlo coach Jack Bowen. "We're looking to be our best as we get into the final games of the season and we definitely did that today."

M-A finished the two-day tourney with a 9-6 win over Los Altos and a 14-7 loss to Davis. Harrison Holland-McCowan scored seven goals in the two matches.

Two-time champ Mater Dei won its third straight title with a 15-10 victory over Loyola (Los Angeles). They are the No. 1 and 2 teams, respectively, in the CIF Southern Division.



At Sacred Heart Prep

Game 1 -- Sacred Heart Prep 15, Villa Park 0

Game 3 -- Santa Barbara 16, Acalanes 6

Game 5 -- Loyola (LA) 16, Menlo School 5

Game 7 -- El Tori 13, Davis 7

Game 9 -- Acalanes 17, Villa Park 8

Game 11 -- Santa Barbara 13, Sacred Heart Prep 12

Game 13 -- Menlo School 9, Davis 8

Game 15 -- Loyola 14, El Toro 10

At Menlo-Atherton High

Game 2 -- Mater Dei 15, Los Altos 3

Game 4 -- Agoura 8, St. Francis (MV) 5

Game 6 -- Miramonte 12, Vista (San Diego) 9

Game 8 -- Los Alamitos 10, Menlo-Atherton 8

Game 10 -- St. Francis 16, Los Altos 12

Game 12 -- Mater Dei 14, Agoura 7

Game 14 -- Vista 16, Menlo-Atherton 8

Game 16 -- Los Alamitos 11, Miramonte 8


At Sacred Heart Prep

Game 17 -- Sacred Heart Prep 9, El Toro 6

Game 19 -- Agoura 9, Miramonte 6

Game 21 -- Loyola 10, Santa Barbara 6

Game 23 -- Mater Dei 13, Los Alamitos 9

Game 25 -- El Toro 8, Miramonte 7 (7th place)

Game 27 -- Sacred Heart Prep 11, Agoura 7 (5th place)

Game 29 -- Los Alamitos 13, Santa Barbara 10 (3rd place)

Game 31 -- Mater Dei 15, Loyola 10 (1st place)

At Menlo-Atherton High

Game 18 -- Menlo-Atherton 9, Los Altos 6

Game 20 -- Davis 12, Villa Park 6

Game 22 -- Vista 12, St. Francis 3

Game 24 -- Acalanes 7, Menlo School 2

Game 26 -- Los Altos 13, Villa Park 9 (15th place)

Game 28 -- Davis 14, Menlo-Atherton 7 (13th place)

Game 30 -- Menlo School 11, St. Francis 10 (11th place)

Game 32 -- Vista 14, Acalanes 11 (9th place)

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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