The Palo Alto boys' track and field team won the Triple Crown in its sport last season as the Vikings won the SCVAL De Anza Division dual-meet title, the league championships and their first-ever Central Coast Section team crown.
Palo Alto now is attempting an unprecedented repeat, which nearly got derailed Tuesday as the Vikings had to win the final 1,600-meter relay to escape with a 65-62 victory over host Los Altos.
"It was too close for comfort," said Paly coach Jason Fung. "We just don't have the distance runners we've had."
That was evident as Paly was swept in both the 1,600 and 3,200 races. The Vikings made up for that by sweeping the 100 and 200 with Jayshawn Gates, Nick Sullivan and Justin Gates doing the honors. Jayshawn won the 100 (11.32) into a headwind while Sullivan took the 200 (22.64) with a season best.
Jayshawn and Sullivan also ran on the winning 400 relay (42.57), which included Michael Johnson and Jon Alee. The clinching 4x400 relay featured Johnson, Malcolm Davis, Cedric Amaya and Sullivan. They won in a season-best 3:29.65.
The best mark of the day, however, belonged to Paly's Victor Du in the long jump. Despite nursing a sore heel, Du improved upon his CCS-leading mark of 22-5 1/4 with a personal record of 23-3 -- into a slight headwind.
Du's big leap is among the best in school history. The school record is 23-11 by Ken Smith in 1981.
Other key efforts for Paly included a second place in the 800 (2:03.67) by Kevin Lavelle, a second in the 300 intermediate hurdles (42.65) by Johnson and a second in the high jump (6-2) by Eilon Tzur. All three broke up one-two finishes by Los Altos that would have been enough to win the meet.
Tzur also won the triple jump with a season best of 43-2 1/2, to move among the top 10 in the CCS.
The Palo Alto girls, meanwhile, also improved to 3-0 in the De Anza Division with an 89-33 victory over Los Altos.
The Vikings swept the 1,600, 100 hurdles, 100, 300 hurdles in addition to winning the 4x400 relay in a season best of 4:10.41. Paly also got double wins from Emma Chiu (both hurdles) and Charlotte Alipate (shot put, discus).
Matt McGarry pitched a one-hitter and Menlo-Atherton moved into the championship game of the Cordova Easter Tournament with a 9-0 victory over Rio Linda on Tuesday.
The Bears (9-4) took advantage of four errors in the first inning to score four runs. M-A pounded out 12 hits to make it easy for McGarry, who lost his no-hitter on a lead-off single in the seventh.
Sacred Heart Prep kept pace with defending champ Menlo School in the West Bay Athletic League with a 193-210 victory over Harker at Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club on Tuesday.
The Gators (4-0, 6-0) were led by junior Bradley Knox, who had three birdies during his 1-over round of 36. Stanford-bound Maverick McNealy shared medalist honors with Knox. Derek Ackerman (37) and Ryan Galvin (39) also had solid rounds for SHP, which is off for spring break before hosting Menlo on April 8 in the first of two showdowns for first place.
At Palo Alto Municipal, three other top golf teams got together to test their talents and local rivals Gunn and Palo Alto each shot 373 to share honors in the nonleague tri-meet. Menlo, which was missing two starters, finished with a 393 total.
Medalist honors went to Gunn's Avinash Sharma and Menlo's Andrew Buchanan, each shooting 2-under 70 for their 18-hole rounds.
Carding even-par rounds of 72 included Anson Cheng of Gunn and John Knowles of Palo Alto.
Senior Charlotte Biffar scored a season-high seven goals to pace Palo Alto to a 16-3 romp over visiting Pioneer in a Santa Clara Valley Athletic League match on Tuesday night.
The Vikings (7-0, 9-0) remained in first place as Annemarie Drez and Kristen DeStefano added two goals apiece. Single tallies came from Gigi Lucas-Conwell, Anna Dairaghi, Claire Chevallier, Nina Kelty and Julia Farino while Kelty and Simone Buteau provided two assists apiece.
In Atherton, Caroline Cummings tallied five goals to pace Sacred Heart Prep to a 15-1 romp over visiting Sacred Heart Cathedral in a WBAL match on Tuesday. Ally Mayle added four goals, Brigid White tallied three and Libby Muir contributed two for the Gators (2-0, 8-0).
In another WBAL match, senior Brooke Bullington scored seven goals in her second straight match to pace Menlo School to a 22-9 romp over visiting Castilleja. Kaitlin Frangione added five goals and three assists as the Knights improved to 2-0 in league (2-4 overall) while dropping the Gators to 0-2 (1-2). Katherine Hobbs tallied five goals for Castilleja.
Menlo School took a step closer to wrapping up yet another unbeaten dual-match season in the West Bay Athletic League with a 7-0 victory over host Sacred Heart Prep on Tuesday. The Knights (7-0, 14-1) won for the 60th time in their past 61 matches while Menlo coach Bill Shine won his 393rd match in his 17-year career at the school.
Meanwhile, Gunn took a step closer to winning the outright championship in the SCVAL El Camino Division with a 5-2 victory over visiting Fremont on Tuesday at Cubberley Community Center. The Titans (9-0 (10-4) swept the doubles behind the tandems of David Lin-Rohit Advani, Kush Dubey-Vishal Bomdica and Homan Yoo-Lui Ji.
Ian Bennett produced 34 kills and Matt Hao had 42 assists to pace Sacred Heart Prep to a 14-25, 25-16, 13-25, 25-18, 15-9 victory over host Wilcox on Tuesday. Grant Chou added 28 digs for the Gators (1-3, 3-7).