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M-A boys gain swim revenge with big PAL win

Bears hold off Burlingame, 86-84, to grab control of dual-meet race

The Menlo-Atherton boys' swim team avenged last season's dual-meet loss to Burlingame and took a step closer toward an unbeaten PAL Bay Division mark with an 86-84 victory over the Panthers on Tuesday. Both teams came in undefeated, but only the Bears emerged with a 5-0 record. Burlingame made it close at the end by winning the 100 breast and 400 free relay.

Most of the races were close and most produced fast dual-meet times. In the 200 free, for example, Burlingame's Wyatt Butler (1:45.02) held off M-A's Nick Henze (1:47.66). In the 50 free, the Bears went one-two with Max Wilder (23.37) and Graham McClelland (23.40). Wilder came back to win the 100 free (51.03). Kei Masuda also was a double winner in the 200 IM and 100 fly (53.73).

In another key race, Scott Swartz (57.62) and Eric Wright (58.85) went one-three in the 100 back to help wrap things up. Wright, Wilder, Masuda and Henze finished second in the 400 free relay, but sped to a fast 3:20.58 clocking while Burlingame won in 3:18.89 -- both excellent dual-meet times.

Menlo-Atherton surprisingly went one-two in the 200 medley relay to start the meet because Burlingame decided to stack the free relays. Had the Panthers gotten second in the 200 MR, they would have won the meet.

Alex Gow's fourth-place finish in the 100 back by 0.15 also was important. If reversed, the meet would have ended in a tie. Other races that had the same effect included the 100 breast, where M-A's Emory Welton was fourth, and both the 100 fly and 100 breast where M-A's Jed Springer dropped three seconds off his PR in both races. If Springer had improved by only two seconds in each race, the meet was a tie.

In Atherton, senior David Culpan and sophomore Tom Kremer turned in some top Central Coast Section times as Sacred Heart Prep wrapped up the West Bay Athletic League dual-meet title with a 111-59 victory over visiting Harker on Tuesday. The Gators finished 6-0 in league (7-1 overall) with their only loss a nonleaguer to St. Francis.

Culpan, better known as a water polo player, continued his breakthrough swim season by winning the 200 free in 1:47.03 and taking the 500 free in a lifetime best of 4:46.52, which ranks him No. 4 in school history. Kremer approached his personal best in the 200 IM while winning in 1:57.27 in addition to taking the 100 fly in 53.26, just off his PR of 53.00 that ranks No. 3 in school history. Both swam on the winning 200 free (1:29.75) and 400 free (3:25.59) relays along with junior Andrew Savage, who clocked a season-best 48.71 to win the 100 free.

In girls' swimming, Sacred Heart Prep swept aside the final contender for WBAL dual-meet honors with a 96-74 victory over visiting Harker on Tuesday. The Gators (7-0, 7-3) wrapped up the league dual-meet title with one final tri-meet left against beatable Mercy-Burlingame and Notre Dame-San Jose.

Harker had the first-place points with seven victories, but SHP had the depth. Sophomore Erin Sheridan sparked the Gators by winning the 100 free (55.06) and 200 free (2:01.01) in addition to swimming a leg on the winning 200 free relay.

In Burlingame, Menlo-Atherton and Burlingame may have battled to a tie in 2009 but it wasn't that close on Tuesday when the teams met again in a PAL Bay Division showdown in the Panthers' pool. While both teams came in undefeated, Burlingame showed that the teams aren't that close by winning eight of the 11 events.

M-A senior Sarah Winters broke up the Panthers' domination by winning the 200 free in a season best of 1:55.05 and doubling back to take the 500 free in 5:12.19. Burlingame, however, swept all three relays and lost only one other individual event as M-A's Becca Dorst won the 50 free in 26.44. The Bears fell to 4-1 in league and now must finish ahead of Burlingame at the league finals to either share or claim the overall PAL title.

Baseball

Gunn pounded out 12 hits, including five for extra bases, as the Titans romped past visiting Lynbrook, 11-1, in a SCVAL El Camino Division game on Tuesday. Graham Fisher picked up his four win on the season while allowing just two hits in four innings on the mound. Danny Luskin earned the save.

The Titans (6-4, 8-11-2) scored a run every inning for the first time this season. Travis Bowers and Jake Verhulp led the offense. Bowers had two doubles and three RBI while Verhulp added two RBI on a triple and single. Tyler Harney and Jack Hannan also had two hits for Gunn, which took advantage of runners in scoring position as by hitting five sacrifice flies.

Boys' lacrosse

Menlo clinched no worse than a tie for the SCVAL De Anza Division title with a 7-3 victory over host Menlo-Atherton on Tuesday. The Knights are 8-0 in the division (12-4 overall) with only two league matches remaining.

Menlo ruined Senior Day for the Bears' six seniors by scoring twice in the opening quarter and grabbing a 5-0 halftime lead. Kyle Bullington and Chris Kvamme led the way with two goals each. David Lee won 11 of 13 face-offs while goalie Grant Evans had five saves. Menlo's defense allowed only eight total shots for the second straight game.

M-A senior Zander Rohn paced the Bears with two goals with Tucker Albright tallying the third goal.

In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Palo Alto saw its unbeaten league season end in a 7-6 loss to host Woodside on Tuesday. With 40 seconds remaining to play, the Wildcats' Ian Merwin caught a pass from Connor Patrick and scored the deciding goal as the Vikings fell to 7-1 in league (11-4 overall) with Woodside improving to 4-1. The victory avenged an earlier 8-7 Woodside loss to Paly.

The exciting rematch featured five ties after Palo Alto relinquished an early lead that saw the Vikings leading by 2-0 at the end of the first quarter, 2-1 at the half, and 3-1 early in the third. Woodside tied things at 4 early in the third quarter. Early in the fourth, Woodside grabbed its first lead of the game on a goal by Patrick. Palo Alto's Bryan Keohane countered 2 1/2 minutes later for a 5-5 match.

It looked as if Woodside had things wrapped up when it went ahead 6-5 with only 2:23 left to play, but Paly's Kris Hoglund got an unassisted goal just 40 seconds later to knot the contest at 6. Merwin's goal with less than a minute left was a controversial one, as Palo Alto players were confident that he had entered the poorly marked crease area. The refs let the goal stand, however, and the Vikings had but 40 seconds to tie it up again.

John Brunett won the face-off to give Paly the ball and a chance, and the Vikings went a man up after Hoglund was fouled. However, time ran out. Patrick had three goals for Woodside while Palo Alto was paced by Keohane's two goals and Hoglund's two goals and one assist.

Girls' lacrosse

Menlo remained perfect and atop the WBAL (Foothill Division) standings at 6-0 with a dominating 19-5 victory over visiting Menlo-Atherton on Tuesday. It was the Knights' (13-3 overall) second win over the Bears (0-6, 3-12) this season.

Menlo now has won 10 straight regular-season matches and 14 consecutive counting a 4-0 finish in the Western States tourney that featured shorter matches. M-A, which lost 12 seniors in a 2009 graduating class, is in a rebuilding mode this year.

Menlo was led by senior Maggie Brown with five goals and two assists. She currently ranks among the top five scorers in the nation with 84 goals this season. Also contributing to the lopsided win was senior tri-captain Mila Sheeline with three goals, senior tri-captain Natalie Williford with two goals and two assists, freshman Michaela Michael (three goals, one assist) and freshman Brooke Bullington (one goal, four assists). All four of Bullington's assists went to Brown.

Softball

Gunn moved into second place in the SCVAL El Camino Division race with a 3-0 victory over visiting Lynbrook on Tuesday. The Titans improved to 6-2 in league (13-9 overall) as freshman pitcher Claire Klausner struck out 12 and allowed only two hits to lead the way.

Klausner started off the bottom of the first with a single, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Laura Kidder, and scored on an error to account for the eventual winning run. Gunn scored again in the third after Klausner slammed a double to the centerfield wall, advanced on a hit by Kidder, and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Brooke Binkley. The Titans made it a 3-0 game in the bottom of the sixth when Binkley singled, advanced to second when Carly Fisher was hit by a pitch, and stole home.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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