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SHP, Castilleja move on to CCS golf championships

Castilleja's Nelsen, Gunn's Sarathy finish in three-way tie for first at WBAL Championships

The top two teams from the West Bay Athletic League will continue their golfing battles when Sacred Heart Prep and Castilleja compete in the Central Coast Section Championships next Tuesday at Rancho Canada East Golf Course in Carmel Valley.

Sacred Heart Prep earned its invitation by tying with Castilleja for the WBAL regular-season title and then winning the tiebreaker. Castilleja earned its trip by qualifying at the WBAL Championships on Wednesday at Poplar Creek in San Mateo.

Needing to shoot 435 or lower to move on, Castilleja shot 424. Senior Brenna Nelsen struggled, but still shot a 6-over-par 77 and finished in a three-way tie for first place along with Jayshree Sarathy of Gunn and Miranda Wiss of Mercy-Burlingame.

Along with qualifying with a team, golfers could advance to the CCS tourney as individuals out of Wednesday's finals by shooting 87 or lower. Along with Nelsen and Sarathy, individual CCS qualifiers included senior Sarah Debs of Castilleja (79), Kimberly Beers of Pinewood (81), Shelby Soltau of Sacred Heart Prep (83), Gabby Girard of Menlo School (84), Rachael Henry of SHP (85) and sophomore Taylor Wilkerson of Castilleja (87).

Menlo shot 478 as a team and failed to advance to CCS.

For Castilleja, which finished 9-1 during the regular season with its only loss costing the Gators an automatic berth into CCS, Wednesday's performance was a solid tuneup for the section event.

"Brenna (Nelsen) struggled today, but I am confident she will rebound as she is a very dedicated and extremely gifted athlete," said Castilleja coach Jim Miller. "The rest of the team really hung in the whole day as we talked about the mental side of golf and we worked hard on our short games. We also discussed course management and we played an 18-hole practice round last Friday. Our team was very focused on making sure our outstanding season did not end today as a team."

Had Sacred Heart Prep needed to qualify as a team on Wednesday, the Gators would have failed to do so as they shot 444. That, perhaps, gives Castilleja an edge going into CCS.

"After our (last) match at Sharon Heights (a loss to SHP), our team was determined to qualify to go to CCS," Miller said, "and we wanted to make sure there was no doubt how strong our team is this season."

Along with Nelsen, Debs and Wilkerson, Castilleja got an 89 from freshman Caroline Debs and a 92 from senior Stephanie Merenbach. Wilkerson shot 39 on the back nine while Caroline Debs had a 42. Ellie Zales also moved on with the team despite not having her score count in the final total.

Joining Soltau and Henry in the CCS tourney next week for SHP will be Kennedy Shields (91), Michaela Hutter (88) and Emma Dake (97). The team's nonscorer on Wednesday was Christine Flynn, but she'll compete in the CCS team competition, as well.

Girls' tennis

Menlo School clinched its 17th straight regular-season league title with a 7-0 romp over host Notre Dame-San Jose on Wednesday. The Knights (9-0, 16-5) improved to 177-0 in league dual matches since 1994, and can extend that streak of 17 straight unbeaten league seasons by beating second-place Harker on Thursday (3:30 p.m.) on the Menlo courts.

Victories over Sacred Heart Prep and NDSJ this week have given Menlo coach Bill Shine a 350-59 record in his 15th season with the Knights.

Boys' water polo

Menlo School captured its 15th straight PAL Bay Division regular-season title (and 17th in 18 years) with a dominating 19-0 dunking of visiting Burlingame on Wednesday, as Brad Haaland and Jack Finch each scored four goals for the Knights (5-0, 13-7).

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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