Commanding attention amid the infection

Year In Review
Left and Right Photos By Megan V. Winslow; Middle Photo Courtesy of Sophie Thai/Town Crier File Photos
From left: Some of the year’s biggest local sports moments came from Ryan Bahar and the Mountain View High boys basketball team; Los Altos golfer Sophie Thai; and the Los Altos High School baseball team.

Although the pandemic wiped out most sports this year, numerous local high school teams and individual athletes still made their mark.

Basketball and soccer teams completed their winter seasons (just barely), several spring sports squads got in a few weeks of action before the lockdown and some individuals were even able to compete afterward.
In all, it turned out to be enough to continue the Town Crier’s annual tradition of highlighting the top 10 athletic accomplishments of the year. So, without further ado – and in no particular order – here’s who made the cut and why.

Thai sizzles in summer

Los Altos High golfer Sophie Thai placed second at back-to-back AJGA Junior All-Star Series events in July. The junior posted a three-round score of 211 at the TaylorMade TP5 Junior All-Star in Georgia, shooting 4-under par, and then posted a two-round, even-par score of 147 at the AJGA Stan Utley and Mid-America Youth Golf Foundation Junior All-Star in Missouri.

Brothers step up

Aided by two Los Altos residents, Harker School edged St. Francis High on penalty kicks to claim the Central Coast Section Division III boys soccer final in February. The game was scoreless at the end of regulation and after the first overtime. James Garlick then scored for the Lancers and Los Altos resident Justin Fung answered for Harker. Fung, whose older brother Jeffrey anchored the defense, later made a PK to help Harker seize its first CCS crown.

Spartans take over

The Mountain View High girls soccer team showed it belonged in the CCS Open Division, which it missed qualifying for by half of a point, by dominating the next-best division in February. The Spartans allowed only one goal over three games. They cruised to a 3-0 win over Ann Sobrato in the Division I final behind goals from Isabella Walker, Julia Webster and Claire Pare, along with stellar defense from Erin Coyne, Shannon Gould, Natalie Dekovic, Elechi Iroaga and Kate Stone.

LA comes out swinging

The Los Altos High baseball team got off to a blistering start, going 5-1 before the pandemic ended the season in March. The Eagles finished on a four-game win streak capped by a 12-4 rout of Leland. Who knows how far Los Altos may have gone with the likes of Aaron Parker, Brennan Hanley, Aiden Brenner, Brock Susko, Matt Leong, Colby Cook and Connor Altinger in the lineup.

Big-shot Bahar

It didn’t look good for the Mountain View High boys basketball team once standout Jailen Daniel-Dalton left the CCS Division I playoff game at Homestead with a shoulder injury. Mountain View trailed the home team by two with 1:18 left in overtime. But Ryan Bahar came to the rescue, making what coach Kevin Mack called “probably the biggest shot of the year.” The junior buried a 3 to put his team ahead with 1:05 to go, lifting the Spartans to a 54-48 second-round win in February.

On course to help

St. Francis High golfer Max Oberweis-Manion played 100 holes in one day to raise money for Youth on Course, a nonprofit that makes golf more affordable for kids. It took the Los Altos resident 12 hours to complete the 100-Hole Hike at San Jose Municipal Golf Course, where he walked more than 30 miles. The 16-year-old sophomore became the youngest golfer to participate in the event. He raised $7,615.

An upset special

The Los Altos High girls basketball team pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season, stunning Palo Alto 46-37 in a January SCVAL De Anza Division game. Tessa Player scored 13 points for the host Eagles, Alyssa Hamamoto added 11 points and Jamie Baum recorded six points, eight rebounds and four assists. This was one of only two league losses for Paly, which played in the CCS Division I final. Los Altos went 6-6 in league and 12-14 overall.

Panthers go deep

After winning yet another West Bay Athletic League title, the Pinewood School girls basketball team reached the CCS Open Division final and the Northern California Division I semifinals. The Panthers were outmatched by Mitty in the CCS final, falling 76-44, but rebounded with wins over Granite Bay and Miramonte in NorCals before top seed Salesian eliminated them in March, 53-44. Led by college-bound juniors Annika Decker, Courtni Thompson, Una Jovanovic and Maia Garcia, Pinewood finished 25-5 overall.

Running for a cause

After running 24 miles in 24 hours for fun – and encouraging friends and family to do the same – Los Altos High distance runner Justin Rosen repeated the feat later in the spring to raise money for charity. Last year’s junior class president worked with fellow members of the Associated Student Body and administrators to organize the second Rosen 1 MPH Challenge as part of the school’s second food drive. Fifty-eight people participated in the challenge, following social-distancing protocol, to raise $7,500 for Second Harvest Food Bank.

Getting noticed

Invited to play baseball in the Scout League over the summer, Los Altos High senior Aaron Parker surely caught the attention of MLB scouts who attended the six-game, three-weekend showcase in Fresno. The third catcher in the rotation the first weekend, Parker was his team’s starter a week later after throwing out several runners, and he belted a home run in the finale. “I think I kind of earned my stripes with the energy and intensity I brought, and they respected that,” said Parker, headed to UC Santa Barbara.

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