LA's Zaeske & Jacob power cross-country teams to CCS

Malcolm Slaney/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Ben Zaeske runs ahead of Palo Alto’s Kent Slaney at last week’s SCVAL El Camino Division meet at Crystal Springs in Belmont. Zaeske finished first and Slaney second.

Los Altos High’s Ben Zaeske beat a familiar foe to claim the boys varsity cross-country race at last week’s Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division Championships.

The senior finished 8 seconds ahead of runner-up Kent Slaney, a Palo Alto High junior he’s been racing against since grade school.


St. Francis High hires head coaches for three sports

St. Francis High administrators recently hired three varsity head coaches for the 2015-16 school year.

Todd Meulman has been appointed wrestling coach – for a second time – Jonah Carson takes over the boys volleyball team and Paul Lapke is the new girls track coach.


Participation in high school sports rises in California

Town Crier file photo
Track and field is the second most popular high school sport among boys in California.

High school sports participation continues to increase in California and is at an all-time high for the third consecutive year, according to the 2015 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Sports Participation Survey released last month.

Results show that 772,659 student-athletes are competing in California high school athletic programs – an increase of 1.01 percent since the 2014 survey.


Sports on the Side

Johnson earns call-up

Sept. 1 was a big day for Los Altos High graduate Erik Johnson. He was named the International League’s Most Valuable Pitcher and called up to the big leagues by the Chicago White Sox. Johnson compiled an 11-8 record with a 2.37 ERA in 23 games this season with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. The Cal product was leading the IL in ERA (2.37) and strikeouts (136) at the time he was promoted.

Tennis lessons in MV

Mountain View Tennis is registering players for group lessons at Cuesta Park. All ages and skill levels are welcome. Fees vary. To register and for more information, visit


LA triathlete takes 16th at national, makes U.S. team

Courtesy of Sophia Steffens
Sophia Steffens gets to her bike at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.

Unlike those emails promising wealth from Nigeria or congratulations for winning the Canadian lottery, this message turned out to be a pleasant surprise for Sophia Steffens.

The Los Altos High graduate received an email last fall informing her that she qualified for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships Aug. 8 in Milwaukee, Wis. Steffens competed in the Santa Barbara Triathlon months earlier but didn’t realize her first-place finish in the women’s 20-24 age group guaranteed her a berth in the national event.


Dean of the badminton court

Courtesy of the Tan family
Los Altos resident Dean Tan and mixed- doubles partner Jenny Gai stand on the podium shortly after winning the gold at the 2015 Pan Am Junior Badminton Championships earlier this month in Tijuana, Mexico.

Dean Tan began playing badminton for fun in the front yard of his Los Altos home at age 9. Four years later, he was competing in the sport for medals in Mexico.

Dean represented the United States at the 2015 Pan Am Junior Badminton Championships earlier this month in Tijuana. The Blach Intermediate School eighth-grader returned with a gold medal for mixed doubles and a silver for boys doubles in the under-15 age division.


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