Palo Alto has strong showing at cross country invitational

Castilleja (left) and Palo Alto open fast at the start of the race. Photo by Mark Foster.

Slider photo by Mark Foster

Menlo School's Robert Miranda remained undefeated this season, winning Saturday's 3-mile Monterey Bay Invitational at Toro Park in Salinas with a 15:55 and Sacred Heart Prep's Luci Lambert was the top local girls finisher, placing fourth in 19:11.

Miranda Jimenez

Palo Alto raced second in both boys and girls varsity team races. The boys, racing without its top runner, finished with 92 points, just behind Willow Glen, which had 71 points.

The Vikings girls had 118 points to finish behind Aptos, which scored 82 points. Julia Doubson's ninth-place finish in 19:31 led the Paly effort.

Donald Taggart, who has been the third or fourth runner most of the year, led the Paly boys with a surprising fourth-place finish in 16:24. Sam Craig finished sixth in 16:30.

The Vikings are third in the latest Central Coast Section rankings; second among Division I teams. Menlo-Atherton, which placed seventh at Toro Park, is ranked 15th overall.

Ethan Mimeles was M-A's top finisher, going 16:57 to place 21st overall, just behind Paly's Reed Foster, who placed 20th with a time of 16:56.

Kamran Murray was Menlo's second runner behind Miranda. Murray raced 16:46 to place 15th overall. Max Cluss led Sacred Heart Prep, which placed 13th, in 17:33.

Paly's strong finish is even more impressive given that runners like Taggart and Craig stepped in to fill a void and that John Tayeri (17:06) and Aashai Avadhani (17:24) stood their ground in keeping the Vikings in second.

"Overall great job," Paly coach Michael Davidson said. "We worked as a team, we cheered each other on, we supported each other and that's what's important. The first places, the second places; that's the results of great teamwork."

The Palo Alto girls are looking to reach the state championship meet for the first time in 15 years and are trending upward after their latest effort in Salinas.

Currently ranked fourth overall, and second among Division I teams, in the most recent CCS polls, have a solid foundation with Doubson, Miranda Jimenez, who placed 15th overall in 19:50, and Kai Douglas (19th, 20:22). Julie Meng (21:33) and Zoe Douglas (21:48) completed the scoring.

Castilleja's Tevah Gevelber finished just behind Doubson in 10th, running 19:35. The Gators were also missing a top runner and competed with four runners.

Menlo-Atherton placed fourth with 144 points, just behind Willow Glen's 132 and ahead of San Benito's 150. Sacred Heart Prep was 13th.

Kristina Gorey led M-A's effort, finishing 24th overall in 20:39. Sara Osterberg was 26th in 20:41.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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