It has been a tough few weeks for Palo Alto High cross-country coach Kelsey Feeley, who lost her father, Jerry, to leukemia on October 1.
As her father's health declined recently, Feeley fortunately had her teams at Paly to fall back on for support.
While still mourning the loss of her father, Feeley nonetheless was on hand Tuesday to watch her boys run to three titles and her varsity girls take third at the SCVAL Meet No. 2 race at Crystal Springs in Belmont.
"Kelsey said she was glad to be there," said Malcolm Slaney, whose son Kent runs on the varsity boys team. "Still mourning, but glad for the distraction."
There was much to be positive about as the varsity boys, frosh-soph boys and Varsity 2 boys all racing to team and individual titles.
Kent Slaney, a junior, continued his solid season by winning his fourth individual title. He clocked a personal best of 15:22.9 over the rolling 2.95-mile course while defeating Lynbrook's Justin Robison by nearly 13 full seconds. Slaney lowered his previous best by more than a minute.
Slaney's time would have ranked him among the top 10 last year on the Crystal Springs course -- times all run by seniors. Slaney now has won races at the Lowell Invitational, Stanford Invitational, SCVAL No. 1 and No. 2 meets.
Fellow junior Naveen Pai also continued his strong campaign as he finished fourth in 15:55.9. Yet another junior, Spencer Morgenfeld, was 12th in 16:34.8 and sophomore teammate Sam Craig was 13th in 16:36.8. Sam Desre, the team's lone senior among the top five, wrapped up Paly's scoring with a 16:45.6 clocking for 19th.
Paly freshman Henry Saul won the frosh-soph race in 17:06.6 to help the Vikings win the team title with 54 points. Senior Zach Segal won the Varsity 2 race as the Vikings won with 51 points.
The local success carried over into the girls' races as Gunn senior Gillian Meeks ran off with the varsity race and helped the Titans win the team crown with 52 points.
Meeks won by over a minute with a personal record of 17:26.6, making her the No. 22 all-time performer on the venerable Crystal Springs course. She previously had ranked No. 25. Making the time even more special was the fact it came on her 17th birthday.
Gunn junior Illi Gardner raced home sixth in 18:58.2 and sophomore teammate Joyce Shea was ninth in 19:46.2. Sophomore Emma Chiao was 14th in 20:19.3 and junior Claire Hu was 22nd in 20:39.5 to round out Gunn's scorers.
"We still have some work to do," said Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer. "And, there are some really good teams in D-2 this year. Oh well. But, very happy that Gillian got a PR and moved up the all-time list. It wasn't planned, so even better."
Palo Alto sophomore Julia Doubson was 10th in 19:51.0 to pace the Vikings to their third-place finish. Other Paly scorers included Andrea Chandler (23rd in 20:41.5), Maya Rebitzer (24th in 20:42.0), Emma Raney (27th in 20:45.7) and Katia Martha (29th in 20:53.8).
The Gunn boys were sixth in the varsity race with 150 points with senior Reid Kovacs leading the way with a 14th-place finish of 16:40.0.