This was a year to remember for several local high school athletes and teams. A handful advanced to state finals, some won Central Coast Section titles and a few school records fell.
The Town Crier’s top 10 countdown of the year’s biggest sports stories follows.
10 Mountain View High freshman commits to Stanford. Soccer standout Allie Montoya verbally committed to Stanford University Jan. 23. Although the Los Altos resident can’t sign a National Letter of Intent until senior year, she and her family have received assurances that the offer stands as long as she holds up her end of it. “It’s kind of a relief,” said striker Montoya, recruited by a slew of schools, including Santa Clara University and UCLA. “I’m super excited.”
9 Two local swimmers are double winners at CCS championships. Seniors Danielle Carter (Los Altos High) and Brooke Schaffer (St. Francis) each won a pair of events at the CCS finals May 4 in Santa Clara. Cal-bound Carter claimed the 100-yard backstroke and 100 butterfly; UCLA commit Schaffer won the 50 freestyle (22.92) and 100 free (49.32).
8 Doubles team on St. Francis High girls tennis team nets CCS crown. Avenging a loss to the duo that beat them in the league final, Lancers Akanksha Pabari and Katherine Simone dominated St. Ignatius’ Tiffany Boudagian and Gabby Perich in the CCS doubles final May 20 at Bay Club Courtside in Los Gatos. Pabari, a senior, and Simone, a sophomore, prevailed 6-1, 6-0. “They played with a lot more confidence,” St. Francis coach Lynn Horiye said of his pair’s performance in the CCS final, “and they’re just much better players.”
7 Los Altos High golfer competes in state championships. Eagles’ senior Caris Kim posted the 13th-best score among the 54 competitors at the state girls golf championships, shooting a 4-over-par 75 at Poppy Hills Golf Course Nov. 19 in Pebble Beach. Two weeks earlier, the Princeton University-bound Kim shot a 2-over-par 74 at the Northern California championships to place 11th and make state for the first time. She was the lone local golfer to qualify for state.
6 Mountain View High football team hosts first playoff game in 15 years. After placing fourth in the SCVAL De Anza Division and going 7-3 overall, the Spartans landed the third seed in CCS Division III to secure their first home playoff game since 2004. Just like that year, however, Mountain View wasn’t able to take advantage of the home field; the Spartans fell 20-10 to Burlingame Nov. 16. They made four turnovers and scored their only touchdown on Julian Daniels’ 7-yard run in the third quarter.
5 Los Altos High gymnastics team repeats as CCS champion. With depth on their side, the Eagles May 15 captured their second straight section crown at Gymtowne Gymnastics in South San Francisco. Five Los Altos gymnasts placed among the top 20 all-around: Courtney Krauss (second, 37.800), Emma Tsao (fourth, 37.450), Allison Bricca (sixth, 37.200), Roosa Uusitalo (15th, 36.050) and Emilie Enser (17th, 35.400). The Eagles’ team score of 148.750 beat runner-up Homestead by nearly two points.
4 Mountain View High boys basketball team wins second CCS title in three years. The Spartans not only claimed their second-ever title, they did so in unconventional fashion; Mountain View was the lone CCS finalist to win without reaching 40 points. The No. 3 Spartans edged top-seed Leland 36-34 in the Division II final Feb. 23 in Santa Clara. Mountain View rallied from a five-point deficit in the fourth, spurred by Jack Resnick. Sam Tobin made both of the Spartans’ 3s in the game, and Will Dominguez had a game-high 12 points and four blocks.
3 Los Altos High runners set three school records at state cross-country championships. Lauren Soobrian, Adam Sage and the boys team set new school standards Nov. 30 in Fresno. The fastest freshman girl at the meet with a time of 17 minutes, 42.7 seconds, Soobrian placed fourth in Division I and beat the 2013 school record by nearly 10 seconds. Senior Sage finished 21st among Division I boys with a 15:27.2 that was just more than 5 seconds faster than the school record set two years earlier. The boys team’s combined time of 81:05 was 30 seconds faster than last year’s record.
2 Mountain View High baseball team wins first CCS title. The Spartans secured the first CCS crown in program history with a 6-5 win over Leland in the Division I final May 25 at San Jose’s Excite Park. Tenth-seeded Mountain View, which pulled ahead in the seventh inning on a bad throw by the No. 4 Chargers that allowed Cae Cox to score from third, beat two other higher-seeded teams on the way to the title: No. 2 Los Altos in the quarterfinals and No. 6 Bellarmine in the semifinals. “I told them afterward, ‘They can never take this away from you,’” coach Kris Mims said. “‘You will always be champions and the first champions at Mountain View High.’”
1 Pinewood School girls basketball team makes state final for second year in a row. Although the Panthers’ season ended with a loss in the championship game – as it did in 2018 before – they accomplished something no team has before: make the state Open Division final in back-to-back years. The 69-51 loss to Sierra Canyon March 7 at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center marked the final high school game for college-bound seniors Hannah Jump, Klara Astrom and Kaitlyn Leung. “Walking away from the program in your last game with a loss is very bitter,” Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler said, “but they are walking away as great people and great athletes.”