Second place wouldn’t be enough. The 4x400-meter relay team had to win its race, the final event of the day, for the Los Altos High boys to claim Friday’s Santa Clara Valley Athletic League championship meet.
The relay team of Austin Townsend, Derek Mark, McKinley Polen and Tommy Andrews not only came through – it also ran the second-fastest time in the Central Coast Section this year. The foursome “brought it,” co-head coach Dave Barth said, winning the race by nearly two seconds with a time of 3:23.99.
“We needed to win that, and we all stepped up,” Andrews said. “It was pretty cool.”
The win propelled Los Altos (90 points) past Palo Alto (79) for the team title – the Eagles’ first SCVAL crown since 2005. Mountain View finished fourth (57) Friday at Los Gatos High.
Andrews played a pivotal role in the victory; he won the 200 dash (22.41) and took third in the 100 (11.19). The senior’s 200 time wasn’t far off his personal record (22.34), thanks to a strong finish.
“I was behind a little in the first 100, but I accelerated into the second 100 and kept gaining speed,” he said.
Polen finished right behind Andrews with a 22.84, and the sophomore won the 100 (11.14). The Eagles’ other win came from sophomore Weston Fairey in the long jump (22 feet, 2.5 inches).
Other Los Altos boys advancing to Saturday’s CCS semifinals at Gilroy High: Derek Mark in the 400 (second, 51.16) and 200 (fourth, 22.94); Max Molchanov in the triple jump (second, 42-11.5) and high jump (fifth, 5-10); Owen MacKenzie in the 3,200 run (third, 9:32.84); Victor Yu in the long jump (22-0); Patrick Medina in the 300 hurdles (fifth, 41.99); and David Lopez in the 100 (sixth, 11:30).
Thea Mollerstedt led the Los Altos girls, who finished fourth at the meet (41 points), by advancing to CCS in three individual events. She placed second in the 300 hurdles (48.04), fifth in the 100 hurdles (16.05) and sixth in the pole vault (7-0), an event she took up in March.
“It was only my second time competing,” the sophomore said of the pole vault. “It’s fun – no one else (at Los Altos) does it and I practice on my own, which makes it kind of special.”
Mollerstedt was most pleased with her 300 hurdles race.
“I didn’t PR, but it felt really good,” she said. “I got off to a great start.”
Teammates Anna Zaeske and Sandra Keehn qualified in two individual events and as part of both relays. Keehn finished fourth in the 400 (59.22) and fifth in the 200 (26.60), while Zaeske placed fourth in the 200 (26.38) and sixth in the 400 (59.49). The freshmen also joined Britt DeVisser and Tess Callan on the second-place 4x400 relay team, which ran a season-best 4:03.97. Their 4x100 team took sixth (51.72).
Also advancing to CCS: Emily Hennings in the shot put (third, 33-9) and discus (fifth, 106-06); Naomi Donovan in the 1,600 run (5:13.24); and Rebecca Lim in the triple jump (33-7).
No one had a better day at the league meet than Mountain View’s Rachael Estell, who won all three of her individual events and was part of the Spartans’ second-place 4x100 relay (49.99).
Estell, who has battled shin splints all season, claimed the 100 (12.20) and 200 (25.11) dashes, along with the long jump (18-10).
She overcame a bad start to win the 100, surging ahead of Milpitas’ Maria Simone Tayaba.
“I had to play catch up,” the senior said. “She was 3 to 4 meters ahead of me for half the race.”
Estell was more satisfied with her performance in the 200.
“I hadn’t run a solid 200 this year,” she said, “so it was nice to get my PR for this season.”
Estell’s efforts helped the Spartans (74 points) finish second to Los Gatos (84) at the meet.
Mountain View senior Sinai Fatafehi won the girls shot put (41-1) and discus (130-3), while junior Gabrielle Joffe captured the 800 run (2:17.51).
For the boys, Elias Davidson finished second in the 100 (11.18)and Jai Austin took third in the 200 (22.89). Both sprinters were part of the Spartans’ second-place 4x100 relay team (43.60).
Curtis Reitmeir racked up 46 assists as top-seeded St. Francis beat No. 4 Homestead in four sets Saturday to advance to the CCS Division I final. Jerod Nelsen added 23 kills for the Lancers (32-2).
St. Francis was scheduled to host No. 3 Bellarmine (28-8) in Tuesday’s final, played after the Town Crier’s deadline.
Carlos Arieta shot a 5-over-par 76 at last week’s CCS regionals to tie for 19th, good enough to become the first Los Altos High boy to make the finals in 10 years.
“He didn’t play his best round,” Eagles coach Rich Fujii said, “but (he) battled and competed.”
The sophomore chipped in from the bunker on the 17th hole for a birdie that catapulted him into the finals, Fujii added.
The finals were slated Tuesday, after the Town Crier’s deadline.
Mountain View’s Michael Deklerk missed the cut. The junior shot a 79 to tie for 33rd.
Los Altos edged Mountain View by less than a point to win last week’s SCVAL North Division finals. The Eagles earned a score of 147.350, while Mountain View recorded a 147.300 May 10 at Gymtowne Gymnastics in South San Francisco.
“The team competition was about as close as you can get,” said Sarah Wallace, who coaches Los Altos and Mountain View.
Los Altos’ Kelli Kuramoto and Mountain View’s Cindy Linker tied for second all-around with scores of 37.350. Linker won floor with a season-best score of 9.750; teammates Melissa Pinkner, Alyson Evans and Lexy Mitchner also posted their highest scores in the event, as did the Eagles’ Shelby Wong and Jennifer Kuramoto. Mountain View’s Brette Miller and Cassandra Devenney registered season-high scores in every event and all-around.
The Spartans and Eagles have made the CCS championships, slated 4:45 p.m. today at Gymtowne.
Los Altos (17-11-1) has landed the seventh seed in the CCS Division I playoffs and is set to host No. 10 Soledad (20-7) 4 p.m. today.
St. Francis (21-9) is the seventh seed in the CCS Open Division and is scheduled to host No. 10 Los Gatos (18-8-1) 4 p.m. today.
St. Francis and Mountain View are in the CCS Open Division playoffs and slated to begin play Saturday in the quarterfinals. The sixth-seeded Lancers (21-7) face No. 3 Half Moon Bay (23-2); the eighth-seeded Spartans (12-12) take on No. 1 Carlmont (25-2). Game times and sites were not announced at press time.
Although Mountain View exited the SCVAL playoffs in the first round, falling 11-7 to top seed Los Gatos May 10, coach Andrea Keinath is proud of what her fourth-seeded team accomplished this season. The Spartans’ 12-7 overall record is the best in the program’s history.
“This was a great group of girls who really jelled together on and off the field,” Keinath said. “They finished the season strong with a hard-fought semifinal game. They gave everything they had and left it all out on the field.”
Micah Ralston scored three goals to pace Mountain View.
Mountain View hung with host Los Gatos until the fourth quarter of last week’s SCVAL De Anza Division playoff opener, which the Wildcats won 11-5.
The visiting Spartans, trailing by two goals at the end of the third, were outscored 5-1 the rest of the way May 10.
Steven Rutledge scored three goals to lead Mountain View (8-7).
Los Altos lost 17-4 to Palo Alto in the first round of the SCVAL El Camino Division playoffs.