LA girls finish undefeated in dual track & field meets

Andrew Zaeske/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Thea Mollerstedt won both girls hurdles races last week against Lynbrook.

The Los Altos High girls track and field team took a circuitous route to going undefeated in league.

Days before beating Lynbrook last week to cap their dual-meet season, the Eagles learned that they retroactively won their March 23 meet against Milpitas. Los Altos co-head coach Dave Barth said that after a scoring error in the girls high jump was corrected, his team was declared the victor.

That narrow win, coupled with their 97-29 rout of Lynbrook April 18, moved the Eagles atop the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division standings at 6-0. The Los Altos girls last went undefeated in league in 1997, according to Barth.

Thea Mollerstedt, the Eagles’ standout hurdler, wasn’t sure how well her team would do this season, but she didn’t expect a perfect league record.

“I was pretty amazed, because we’re a young team,” said the sophomore, winner of the 100- and 300-meter hurdles last week. “We’re really proud of ourselves.”

The Los Altos boys finished second in the De Anza at 5-1; their lone loss came in the opener at Palo Alto, unbeaten in league.

“Overall, it’s been a stellar season for both squads in terms of dual-meet performances,” Barth said. “Now it’s time to see how we can do on a bigger stage.”

Several Eagles got that chance Saturday in Los Gatos at the CCS Top 8 Meet – and they thrived. Barth said Los Altos athletes set personal records in 20 events (individual and relays).

The biggest improvement on the girls’ side came from Naomi Donovan in the 1,600-meter run. The sophomore shaved 10 seconds off her previous best to finish fourth with a time of 4 minutes, 02.55 seconds.

Anna Zaeske, a freshman, set PRs in the 200 and 400 dashes. She came in seventh in the 400 (59.65) and 16th in the 200 (26.53) Saturday.

Mollerstedt went into the meet with one goal – “I just want to PR, honestly,” she said – and did just that in the 300 hurdles. She ran a 48.07, beating her old record by more than half a second to place 11th. A week earlier at the De Anza Invitational, Mollerstedt ran the 100 hurdles in a season-best 16.08.

“I’ve got my rhythm down now and my steps are lining up,” she said of her recent success.

Teammate Max Molchanov is stepping up, too. The junior won the boys triple jump Saturday with an effort of 44 feet, 11.25 inches. That’s an 11-inch improvement over his previous best and the top mark in the Central Coast Section this season.

Derek Mark finished fifth in the 400 dash with a time of 51 seconds, improving his PR by 0.07. The senior won the event against Lynbrook.

Tommy Andrews had a big week as well. After winning the 100 and 200 dashes versus Lynbrook, the senior set PRs in both at Top 8. He finished fourth in the 200 (22.33) and seventh in the 100 (11.04).

“Our coaching staff is super proud of how the team performed,” Barth said, “and we look forward to continuing to train hard and compete as we prepare for league championships and CCS.”

Los Altos has this week to get ready for the De Anza Division championships, slated Tuesday (trials) and May 4 (finals) at Milpitas. The SCVAL championships are set for the following week, then the CCS semifinals May 20 at Gilroy High.

Estell excels at CCS Top 8 Meet

Suffering from shin splints since the start of the season, Mountain View High’s Rachael Estell said she “finally felt like myself again” Saturday at the CCS Top 8 Meet.

The senior – looking to make it to state for the fourth year in a row – won the 100 dash and long jump and helped the Spartans’ 4x100 relay team take third.

“I had a really good meet,” said the Harvard University-bound Estell. “It was my first good meet of the year.”

Although she didn’t set any personal records, Estell’s marks in the 100 (12.15) and long jump (19-0) are both season-bests. She ran the second leg of the relay, which finished in 49.23.

“By far, that’s our best time this season,” Estell said. “We did really well.”

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