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Menlo tennis moves closer to historic CCS title

 

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The No. 1-seeded team and its hopes for a historic tennis title are still very much alive following Menlo School's 7-0 romp over visiting Los Altos in a Central Coast Section Team Tournament quarterfinals on Monday.

The No. 1 Knights (23-1) will take their lofty seed against No. 5 Monta Vista (16-4) on Wednesday in a CCS semifinal at the Courtside Club in Los Gatos at 2 p.m. The other semifinal pits No. 2 Saratoga (18-5) against No. 3 Bellarmine (19-3) at noon.

The winners will meet Friday at Courtside Club at 2 p.m. for the championship, with both teams advancing to the CIF Northern California playoffs.

The Knights are seeking their 10th section title, which would make Menlo the winningest team ever in CCS tennis history. Menlo and Gunn are currently tied with nine titles each.

Defending champion Menlo played without its No. 1 singles player, sophomore Andrew Ball, who was taking an AP test. Despite having to shuffle its lineup, the Knights overwhelmed the Eagles (16-3.

Junior Justin Chan cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Spencer Simonides at the top singles spot. Sophomore Richard Pham defeated Anthony Bello, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 2 singles, and senior Andrew Carlisle topped Jared Eng, 6-2, 6-1, at the No. 3 spot. Sophomore Daniel Morkovine moved up from doubles and downed Lenoy Avidan, 6-0, 6-1, to wrap up the singles.

In doubles, the freshman tandem of David Ball and JT Nishimura beat the Eagles' Justin Koehler and Greg Dwulet, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1. Seniors Mac Osborne and Kyle Sum dispatched Alex Kellogg and Braden Holt, 6-0, 6-1, at the second spot, and sophomores Michael Hoffman and William Boyd defeated Dhruv Madhok and Christian Beck, 6-2, 6-1.

In the other quarterfinals, Saratoga eliminated R.L. Stevenson, 7-0; Bellarmine bounced Harker, 6-1; and Monta Vista got by No. 4 Leland, 4-3.

Menlo already has faced Bellarmine and Saratoga this season and beaten each team twice. The Knights, who have won 13 straight matches, will be facing Monta Vista for the first time this season.

Boys' golf

Two local rivalries will be renewed this week when the Gunn and Palo Alto plus the Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep teams tee off in Central Coast Section regional action Tuesday and Wednesday at Rancho Canada West Golf Course in Carmel Valley.

None of the teams, however, will be going head to head.

On Tuesday, the Palo Alto and Sacred Heart Prep teams will compete in the CCS Regional I. The Vikings received an at-large berth after tying with Gunn (and losing a tiebreaker) at the SCVAL finals, while the Gators qualified by finishing second in the West Bay Athletic League Tournament.

Palo Alto will be represented by Sam Niethammer, Grant Raffel, Michael Yuan, Mathias Schmutz, Annie Chen and Cathy Rong. Sacred Heart's contigent includes Kevin Knox, Bradley Knox, Andrew Vetter, Spencer Clark, Spencer Lamb and J.P. Ertola.

Also teeing off Tuesday will be Colton Bares of Pinewood. He qualified as an individual out of the WBAL Tournament.

On Wednesday, it will be Menlo School, Gunn and Menlo-Atherton all trying to advance. The top four teams each day will move on to the CCS finals on Tuesday, May 17, also at Rancho Canada West.

Menlo will be represented by defending CCS champ Patrick Grimes along with Andrew Buchanan, Bobby Pender, Jackson Dean, Will Petit and James Huber. Gunn's squad features Avi Sharma, Anson Cheng, Vincent Yang, Herbert Sadler-Wong, Curran Sinha and Matt Redfield.

Hoping to help Menlo-Atherton advance will be Travis Anderson, David McNamara, Max Culhane, Matt Tinyo, Colton Toy and McKinley Mathon.

Baseball

Palo Alto and Wilcox will open the SCVAL De Anza Division playoff finals on Tuesday, with the Vikings (22-8) visiting the Chargers (24-5) in the best-of-three series at 3:30 p.m. The teams will play at Paly on Thursday (3:30 p.m.) with a challenge game, if necessary, at Wilcox on Friday.

Wilcox topped the Vikings twice during the regular season on the way to winning the regular-season title at 12-2 while Paly was second at 11-3. Since the last loss to Wilcox, the Vikings have gone 11-2.

Paly is hitting .346 as a team with senior T.J. Braff leading the way at .469. The Santa Clara University-bound Braff has a team-leading 38 hits and 37 RBI. Senior Christoph Bono has 29 hits, including 13 doubles, with junior Cory Tenanes third with 27 hits.

Paly coach Erick Raich has used all eight of his pitchers with Ben Sneider, Drake Swezey, Kevin Kannappan and Sam Maliska getting the bulk of the work. The Vikings have a team ERA of just 1.92.

Boys' lacrosse

Palo Alto will visit regular-season champ Mountain View to in the semifinals of the SCVAL playoffs on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

At the same time, Menlo School will host Menlo-Atherton. The semifinal winners will square off in the SCVAL finals on Saturday at Woodside at 1 p.m.

Paly (13-6), which eliminated Sacred Heart Prep on Saturday, 12-3, has lost twice to Mountain View this season, 10-9 and 13-2.

Menlo (14-7) and Menlo-Atherton 12-5) have split this season, with the Knights beating the Bears last Monday.

Girls' lacrosse

The postseason gets under way in the WBAL and SCVAL with playoff action starting Tuesday.

The quarterfinals of the WBAL playoffs will find Burlingame hosting Notre Dame-San Jose and Castilleja visiting Menlo-Atherton, both at 5 p.m. Those winners will advance to the semifinals on Thursday.

Sacred Heart Prep will host the NDSJ-Burlingame winner while defending champ Menlo School hosts the winner between Castilleja and M-A, again at 5 p.m. The championship match will be Saturday at Woodside High at 9 a.m.

In the SCVAL playoffs on Wednesday, Palo Alto hosts Los Gatos at 4:30 p.m., with St. Francis hosting Leland at 7 p.m. Those winners will meet Saturday at Woodside at 11 a.m.

Palo Alto (11-1, 15-7) tuned up for the playoffs with a 15-3 victory over host Pioneer in a makeup match on Monday to close the regular season. The Vikings won their seventh straight as Nina Kelty tallied four goals while Leigh Dairaghi and Ashley Swendseid each scored twice. Ten different Paly players scored in the lopsided effort.

Track and field

The Peninsula Athletic League finals will conclude on Wednesday at College of San Mateo, with the first 400 relay set for 2 p.m.)

The West Bay Athletic League championships will take over CSM on Thursday (3:30 p.m.), following trials last week.

Some of the boys' top qualifiers include Zach Kaplan of SHP in the 1,600 (4:41.80), Lawrence Van Hook of Eastside Prep in the 100 (11.66), Arnaud Kpachavi of Priory in the 800 (2:03.78), Jordan Williams of Menlo in the long jump (19-9 3/4), Tyler McCool of SHP in the triple jump (40-5 3/4, and Leo Koloamatahgi of SHP in the shot put (43-1 3/4) and discus (136-6).

Among the girls' top qualifiers:

Kat Gregory of Priory in the 1,600 (5:20.62), Laura Gradiska of Menlo in the 100 hurdles (17.44), Maddy Price of Menlo in the 400 (1:01.24) and 200 (26.59), Maggie Fong of SHP in the 100 (12.73), Rachel Skokowski of Castilleja in the 800 (2:25.85), Leeana Bade of Pinewood in the long jump (16-6 1/2), plus Caitlin Colvin of Castilleja and Hailie Eackles of Pinewood in the high jump (4-10).

— Keith Peters

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