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By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Kevin Morris had plenty to be pleased with after watching his Sacred Heart Prep boys' and girls' swim teams splash to easy victories while defending their West Bay Athletic League titles on Thursday in the Gators' pool.
Sacred Heart won seven events in each division as the girls piled up 513 points and the boys totaled 559 and both squads looked ready to go for next weekend's Central Coast Section championships.
In the girls' division, SHP freshman Ally Howe set two meet records and one school record to help lead the way despite swimming through the meet untapered or shaved.
Howe swam automatic All-American times while winning the 200 IM in a meet and school record of 2:02.29 and taking the 100 fly in a meet record of 54.81, another automatic All-American time. She also swam on the winning 200 medley relay and first-place 200 free relay that clocked a meet record of 1:40.94.
SHP's Erin Sheridan also swam on the 200 free relay in addition to winning the 50 free (24.59) and 100 free (53.65) in season-best times. SHP's Eliza Henderson also swam a season best while upending favored Kendall Marie Owens of King's Academy in the 500 free. Henderson clocked 5:26.76.
In the boys' meet, Sacred Heart Prep junior Tom Kremer broke two meet records and one school mark and swam on two winning relays as the Gators successfully defended their title. Menlo School was second with 429 points.
Kremer, one of the top talents in the CCS, clocked automatic All-American times while winning the 200 IM in a meet record of 1:53.25 and the 100 fly in a sizzling 50.26, which also broke the school record of 51.58 set in 2007 by Kameron Flores-Maxfield. Kremer also helped the 200 medley and 400 free relays to solid victories.
SHP showed off its depth by taking the top four places in the 200 free with junior Max McKelvy surprising the field with a CCS-qualifying 1:49.47, his season best. The Gators also swept the 500 free with Joe Wise leading the way in 4:54.17.
Getting a standout pitching effort from Graham Marchant, who tossed seven innings of relief, the Palo Alto baseball team forced a challenge game in the SCVAL De Anza Division championship playoffs with a 10-1 victory over visiting Wilcox on Thursday.
The Vikings (23-9) and Chargers (25-6) will decide the best-of-three series on Friday at Wilcox, with the first pitch at 3:30 p.m. Both teams will advance to the Central Coast Section playoffs next week.
After starter Kevin Kannappan gave up a first-inning run with two walks and a hit, that was enough for Paly coach Erick Raich. In came Marchant, who threw seven innings of two-hit ball with four strikeouts and no walks. He had plenty of support as the Vikings pounded out 14 hits, two going for home runs by John Dickerson (a two-run shot) and Drake Swezey. B.J. Boyd and Will Glazier each had three hits while Austin Braff, Jack Witte and Swezey contributed two each.
In Milpitas, Gunn wrapped up its SCVAL El Camino Division season with a 6-5 loss to the Trojans. Miles Sturken had three hits, including a triple, and drove in two runs for the Titans (7-7, 13-11-1).
Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep, the top two teams in the West Bay Athletic League during the regular season, appropriately will meet for the WBAL playoff championship on Saturday at Woodside High at 9 a.m.
Both teams advanced to the finals following high-scoring victories on Thursday.
Sacred Heart Prep (17-7) got five goals and an assist from freshman Caroline Cummings and three goals with two assists from Kendall Cody and Michelle Gonia to hold off visiting Burlingame, 16-11. Julia Keller added three goals and one assist while Melissa Holland contributed two goals and an assist against last season's playoff runnerup.
Just down the road at the same time, regular-season champ Menlo (17-6) earned the right to defend its championship with a 24-8 blasting of visiting Castilleja. Sophomore Michaela Michael led the way with seven goals and three assists while sophomore Ali Kim scored five times and added two assists. Junior Sophie Sheeline finished with three goals and an assist while Castilleja junior Martha Harding led the Gators with three goals.
Menlo coach Jen Lee had 12 contributors to her team's 35 total points, with 11 of the 24 goals being assisted.
Menlo and Sacred Heart Prep already have played twice this season with the Knights winning both times.
First-place Homestead proved too tough as the Palo Alto softball team closed its season with a hard-fought 5-3 loss in SCVAL De Anza Division action on Thursday. The Vikings (6-6, 10-16) scored their three runs on only three hits and did a good job of limiting the Mustangs (12-0), who put the game away with a three-run third inning