Gunn's Meeks runs to another victory in cross country | News | Palo Alto Online |


Gunn's Meeks runs to another victory in cross country


After a cool morning in Fresno on Saturday, it warmed up to the point of being just plain hot with 90-plus degree heat. That, however, didn't slow Gunn senior Gillian Meeks at the Clovis Invitational held at Woodward Park.

Despite the sweltering heat, Meeks had another great performance as she won the Division I girls race with a 17:44.5 over the 5,000-meter (3.1 miles) layout that also serves as the site of the state championships.

"It was a really amazing race," said Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer.

Meeks won by nearly a full 1 1/2 minutes as the second-place runner ran 19:00.2. Equally impressive, Meeks had the second-fastest overall time among girls on the day. Only Destiny Collins of Great Oak ran faster, a 17:36.7 in the championship race that was held in the morning when temperatures were still in the 60s.

Plumer said she was most impressed by the fact Meeks won by such a large margin -- she was leading by five seconds at the mile -- and did so in the high temperatures and dust.

With Meeks leading the way, the Gunn girls finished sixth in the team standings. Illi Gardner was the No. 2 Gunn finisher in 25th (20:15.8).

"The girls team did fairly well, though some of the girls really struggled with the conditions," Plumer said.

Palo Alto junior Kent Slaney also wilted in the heat while suffering his first loss of the season. He led after the first mile, at which point the Vikings were in 11th as a team. Slaney was tied for first as the two-mile mark but wound up finishing ninth in 16:28.9. The Vikings, however, moved up and took fifth in the Division I race. Gunn senior Reid Kovacs led the Titans with a 17:00.8 for 41st.

The Palo Alto girls were in 24th after one mile, 22nd after two miles and finished 16th with Julia Doubson leading the way with a 20L58.4 for 67th.

At the Crystal Springs Invitational in Belmont, Menlo School sophomore Robert Miranda was the local standout as he finished second in the Championship Varsity Boys race in a personal record of 15:31.6 over the rolling 2.95-mile layout. His time, some 47 seconds faster than his previous best, also ranked him No. 2 in all races, trailing only Sobrato's Nolan Dozier, who ran 15:30.5 in the same race that featured more than 200 runners.

"Robert had a great at Crystal Springs as he surprised everyone," said Menlo coach Jorge Chen, who watched Miranda take down the school record of 16:02 by Daniel Pugliese in 2011.

For the girls, Hana Marsheck of Priory was sixth in the Varsity Girls Blue race, clocking 18:51.7. Natalie Novitsky of Sacred Heart Prep was seventh in 18:54.8, Eliza Crowder of Menlo School was 11th in 19:08.2 and Zion Gabriel of Eastside Prep finished 16th in 19:45.5 in a field of 207 runners.

Boys water polo

Sacred Heart Prep came home from the annual S & R Sport Tournament in Irvine with a solid fifth-place finish after the Gators won three of four matches over the two-day tourney at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center.

After beating Long Beach Wilson (8-5) and losing to state power Harvard-Westlake (18-5) on Friday, the Gators bounced back to topple NorCal foes Bellarmine (10-8) and Miramonte (13-11) on Saturday.

"I was happy that both of the those (Saturday) games as we were tied 8-8 going into fourth quarter (of each match) and we found a way to win," said SHP coach Brian Kreutzkamp. "The boys were exhausted and showed a lot of heart to win those games."

Finn Banks, the only senior on the SHP roster, scored a season-high seven goals against league rival Bellarmine on 13 shots. The teams combined for 74 shots, with SHP scoring once on a power play and again on a penalty shot. The Gators never trailed in the match after pulling away from a 1-1 deadlock in the opening period.

Bellarmine did rally to tie the match at 8 in the third period, but Banks scored twice in the final quarter to wrap things up.

In the match for fifth place, Banks tallied five goals, as did junior Jackson Enright, to pace the Gators (9-3). SHP also never trailed against Miramonte, which forged a 9-9 tie with 5:54 left in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Alex Tsotadze broke the deadlock with a goal 20 seconds later and Banks followed with two goals for a 12-10 advantage with 3:51 to play.

Junior goalie J.C. Marco had 11 saves against Miramonte, a career-high 23 against Bellarmine and finished the tourney with 42. Banks scored 13 goals in the four matches.

Girls water polo

Giving up seven goals in the second period, Sacred Heart Prep dropped a 12-9 nonleague decision to East Bay power San Ramon Valley on Saturday morning. Sophomore Nadia Paquin led the Gators (10-4) with three goals while junior Maddy Johnston and senior Malaika Koshy added two each. Goalie Jane Rakow came up with 10 saves.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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